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THE BOOK OF FLIGHT

Rak

Symphonic Prog


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Rak The Book of Flight album cover
3.06 | 34 ratings | 4 reviews | 29% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential


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Studio Album, released in 2012

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Ascent (17:44)
2. The Breakthrough (11:07)
3. The Book of Flight (12:35)
4. The Deception (10:31)
5. The Descent (4:56)
6. The Great Machine (7:27)

Total time 64:20

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Marc Grassi / keyboards
- Mike Liechti / drums
- Stefan Gabele / guitars, bass
- Dave Thwaites / vocals

Thanks to windhawk for the addition
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Lepidoptera II - The Book of FlightLepidoptera II - The Book of Flight
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Circle Records
Audio CD$24.99
$49.99 (used)


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RAK The Book of Flight ratings distribution


3.06
(34 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(29%)
29%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(29%)
29%
Good, but non-essential (32%)
32%
Collectors/fans only (3%)
3%
Poor. Only for completionists (6%)
6%

RAK The Book of Flight reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars 'Lepidoptera II: The Book of Flight' - Rak (6/10)

Following up on their critically successful debut 'Lepidoptera', Rak continues their concept piece with another plate of symphonic hard rock. First starting as a highly melodic neo- progressive act, this Swiss band has continued to ferment their ambition into something a little more musically challenging. 'The Book of Flight' is an obvious work of toil. However, despite their obvious promise and talent, Rak's sophomore leaves me with a mixed impression.

Even playing within a genre infamous for its indulgence and complexity, it still takes a certain level of conviction to write an album-long piece of music. While 'The Book of Flight' may be broken into 'volumes', it flows more or less as a continuous piece of music. Even disregarding that, the songwriting is drawn out and longwinded, with four of the album's six tracks leaping over the ten minute mark. Surprisingly, the vast majority of Rak's music is still vocal driven, in spite of the lengths. Instrumentally speaking, Rak's style is on the edgier side of the symphonic, or 'classic' prog rock sound, with crunchier, quasi-metal guitars to balance out the typically lush keyboard and synth playing. The musicianship is strong, with the impressive melodic synths and technically challenging guitar playing making up the highlights. For the most part, the instrumentation is kept underneath the domination of the vocals, although 'The Deception' and 'The Great Machine' both feature some excellent instrumental moments that feel far too short-lived.

For a fairly long album that's largely led by the vocals of Dave Thwaites, his singing becomes quite a hot topic when judging the record. 'The Book of Flight' convinces me of two things concerning Thwaites' vocals. The first is that he is a good singer, with a voice that's well capable of conveying emotion and warmth. The second, and perhaps more important point is that, despite Thwaites' strength for more laid-back vocals, his delivery on 'The Book of Flight' too often sees him attempting to give an 'edgier' performance. In truth, it does not work nearly as well as a singer like Thwaites is clearly capable of. Much like the instrumental passages, Thwaites' more tender moments are excellent and brutally short- lived. Due to Rak's more drawn out and repetitive composition style, a single less-than- successful vocal idea can drag down an entire 'volume' her,e and that is certainly the case with 'The Book of Flight'.

Rak have impressed me, if only mildly, with this second album. Indeed, it does feel as if this band needs to consolidate their sound. While ambitious; the longform format feels largely superfluous relative to the band's style and emphasis on repetition. There is plenty of potential and promise with the band's sound, and 'The Book of Flight' is certainly worth a listen to any fan of a more keyboard-laden prog sound, but there is some room here to improve.

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Send comments to Conor Fynes (BETA) | Report this review (#751997) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, May 12, 2012

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Multinational, Switzerland based outfit RAK is the creative vehicle of Marc Grassi (music) and Dave Thwaites, and was formed back in 2004. The band released their debut album "Lepidoptera" later the same year to critical acclaim, and their live support of it has been described as a successful one. "The Book of Flight" is the band's second full length production, and was released in February 2012.

And it is a fairly compelling sophomore effort they have made themselves, an album that will find a strong appeal amongst followers of symphonic progressive rock. That this is a conceptual creation is usually an advantage among followers of this type of art rock, and any CD that kicks of with a song clocking in at 17 minutes is bound to raise interest in itself. That the following three pieces all clock in at epic length another positive aspect for quite a few I surmise.

But framework aside, the music itself is fairly intriguing too. It's easy to hear that the main composer in the band is the keyboardist, as quite a lot is based around the tangents for this band. Wandering piano motifs and an organ backdrop or more or less mainstay elements throughout, and soaring keyboard solos can be found aplenty. The guitar has more of a supporting role when not soloing, usually delivering harder edged, dark toned and dampened riff constructions that contrast the tangents quite nicely. Steady and often fairly sophisticated rhythms complement the dominating instruments quite nicely throughout. And the different instrumental elements are utilized in an efficient manner. Each part of this conceptual creation have multiple themes, with a nice and logical development to each of them. And they complement each other fairly well to. Sparse sequences that use guitar and piano only are used to good effect, gentle vocals and piano sequences too, but the most common mode explored and the one followers of symphonic progressive rock most likely will appreciate most are majestic, richly layered arrangements dominated by multiple keyboard textures where the guitar adds the darker tones needed for that really grandiose atmosphere to appear.

Well made and well produced, and with some surprisingly well placed effects. The dissonant instrumental textures used on The Deception elevating this particular piece to a higher level a prime example in my opinion at least. But there's one aspect of this production that limits my enjoyment, which is the lead vocals. Dave Thwaites has a fairly uncommon vocal style, at least in my experience, and I suspect that his choice of tonal range and delivery both will be a feature that will, so to say, make or break this disc. Those who enjoy his lead vocals and are generally fond of contemporary symphonic progressive rock will regard this album as a strong one, while those who don't, those sensitive to lead vocals in particular, might find them too be too distracting. I'll readily admit to being in the latter category in this case.

Overall this makes for a fine piece of symphonic progressive rock, and as long as you don't have a problem with the aforementioned vocal style this conceptual creation should be a nice addition to your collection. Especially if you enjoy fairly complex, contemporary sounding music of this kind explored within epic length compositional frameworks.

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Send comments to Windhawk (BETA) | Report this review (#802836) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, August 10, 2012

Review by Progulator
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Listening to Book of Flight was one of those experiences where my opinions on the album were constantly evolving and changing. "The Ascent" starts off with a very strong symphonic/neo-prog approach on a large scope, but what starts off as really awesome at some point in the track starts to get a bit redundant and it feels like the composition is not offering anything fresh or at least any moments that wow us. For the next couple of songs it's a lot of the same, but then all of a sudden, about half way through the album the sound dramatically changes; it goes from a symphonic approach to a very modern almost Pain of Salvation kind of sound, but in my opinion, not in a good way. The vocal style feels very forced and the modern pseudo prog-metal elements aren't quite strong enough. That said, the end of the album starts to head in a good direction with "The Descent," featuring cool synth and piano elements, and then finishing off strong with "The Great Machine," which is what I consider to be the most consistent and interesting composition on the album, starting from a basic point that the melodies are memorable and the song combines both symphonic and modern elements in fun ways, primarily the manner in which the organ meets the rhythmic guitars. Overall, Book of Flight is a mixed bag, going from good to monotonous, then to bad but ending great. I'd recommend checking this one out and deciding for yourself; I see it as being an album that could potentially draw polarizing opinions. On a side note, I absolutely loved the artwork, which made me think of a space opera version of some of Miyazaki's steampunk flying ships.

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Send comments to Progulator (BETA) | Report this review (#1287572) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, October 04, 2014

Latest members reviews

3 stars From prom. copy. Well I was expected this new work . Octophera I a beautiful album a true symphonic prog great. So I start listening this one. First song :awesome, beautiful...as expected ..symphonic prog rock with strong synths. Second and Third songs nearly as good as the first. Bu ... (read more)

Report this review (#676330) | Posted by robbob | Thursday, March 22, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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