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RISHLOO

Crossover Prog • United States


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Rishloo biography
RISHLOO first came on the scene in the year 2002 in Seattle, Washington, USA. The band's formation occurred between guitarist Dave Gillett, bassist Sean Rydquist, and the band's first drummer, merely credited as 'Tyler'. Vocalist and lead songwriter Drew Mailloux was the last initial member to join. Taking influence from such such classic greats as The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and David Bowie, the band always strives to go somewhere new with each successive album release. Traces of all of those influences and more can certainly be heard peppered throughout.

Often compared to modern, popular prog acts such as Dredg, The Mars Volta and Tool, Rishloo quickly obtained a following among the indie music crowd, but soon gained momentum in the prog circuit with their self-released 2004 debut, "Terras Fames". Its atmospheric soundscapes married with modern-day guitar licks and familiar themes earned the four men a dedicated fanbase that would play a huge role in the band's rapid popularity growth over the next few years.

The band's second release, "Eidolon", took much more risks than its predecessor, and began to branch out the band's sound significantly. Gone were the immediately apparent similarities to their fellows, and much more present was a strong sense of originality and flare that would remain with the band and continue to strengthen their reputation as a stand-alone progressive rock back. This time the album not only sounded like modern-day prog, but took blues and jazz influences as well, allowing the variety of their muses to truly shine through. The album was a success, despite it also being self-released by the band members themselves, just like the first.

In December 2009, the band's third studio album, "Feathergun", was released to much positive fan and critic reaction.

Rishloo official website

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EidolonEidolon
Independent 2007
Audio CD$13.48
$13.47 (used)
FeathergunFeathergun
none 2009
Audio CD$18.31
$45.48 (used)
Terras FamesTerras Fames
independent 2004
Audio CD$12.31
$11.42 (used)
Terras Fames by Rishloo [Music CD]Terras Fames by Rishloo [Music CD]
independent
Audio CD$31.26
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RISHLOO discography


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RISHLOO top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.47 | 21 ratings
Terras Fames
2004
4.05 | 50 ratings
Eidolon
2007
4.01 | 88 ratings
Feathergun
2009
3.89 | 9 ratings
Living As Ghosts With Buildings As Teeth
2014

RISHLOO Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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RISHLOO Reviews


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 Living As Ghosts With Buildings As Teeth by RISHLOO album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.89 | 9 ratings

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Living As Ghosts With Buildings As Teeth
Rishloo Crossover Prog

Review by Lear'sFool

4 stars A great effort, if not too special, by a solid band. Rishloo have been performing a rather eclectic sort of half-light, half-metal prog, and while nothing of theirs particularly sticks out, they have been ever improving over time, continuing through this album. The lighter parts are beautiful and well done, while the metallic parts are more generic; a common problem, it seems, with a lot of metal playing bands who specialize in playing lulls. As usual, though, this still works out to be great, and Risloo's metal has unique moments. Lead single "Landmines" is the top track, with the best metal and the very best of their excellent lighter side brought forth. This is even one of the better tracks of 2014 in general. It's not lived up to so much by the rest of the record, but this is no disappointment. The opener is great, and the rest of the tracks follow as such. A solid work, Rishloo is an ever improving band, and this is a nice testament to that.

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 Eidolon by RISHLOO album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.05 | 50 ratings

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Eidolon
Rishloo Crossover Prog

Review by Wicket
Prog Reviewer

4 stars In recent years, alternative metal has stormed onto the radio waves with its punishing metallic riffs and its catchy choruses sung presumably by taught young men with muscles bulging out of the sides of their craniums with an ax in their back pocket and a car full of empty beer bottles and unopened condom packages.

Nevertheless, this angst-filled, love-lust, balled-inducing, fist-clenching, drunk-crazed genre has created many copycats to follow the likes of Nickelback and Breaking Benjamin, which in turn, creates a backward draft of outfits that desire to break away from the pack, to be unique and better at the same time. Uriah and Destrophy use brutal screams and breaks to blend with melodic passages and choruses, while The Veer Union, Eye Empire and Sigma A.D. prefer just a more brutal and brash approach instead of making every other track on their albums a love-struck ballad. There are even the more avant-garde and way out there bands such as Black Light Burns, whom incorporate elements of alt metal, punk, post-rock and even thrash metal into their unique blend of metal.

This, inevitably, leads to the dabbling of progressive rock, while some groups like Dredg have experimented with prog with their mainstream formula (selling out in the process), a newer wave of bands has arisen over the years on the coattails of Tool's cult underground success of alt metal and post-rock elements. Yet even these groups go their separate ways as well, as Fair to Midland incorporate elements of post-hardcore and indie music to their alt-metal, while Karnivool has (quite expertly, in my opinion) taken the direct successful formula of alt metal (heavy riffs, catchy phrases and choruses and quick and easy hooks to get attached to) and blended uncommon time signatures, while discretely disassembling the standard song structure into their own creation.

Then we get to Rishloo. This Seattle outfit has gone another step further by not worrying about catchiness or airplay on the radio and instead concentrated on the message of the song itself, breaking tradition with the standard ABABCB function of most popular alt metal songs. Yet you wouldn't really notice from a quick listen. "Freaks & Animals" begins in a very subtle manner, very Coheed & Cambria-ish to me, eventually brewing into a rage-filled fury at the chorus. It's not catchy at all, but it's a very unique recipe, and one that works as well. "El Empe" is a slow starter as well, yet it crescendos into a s***storm of swears and curses, but it doesn't even seem that much different from anything else these days. Even the following "Pandora" sounds just like a typical soft rock ballad, once again beginning with subtle arpeggios.

Perhaps the difference comes in the segue of tracks, the seamless flow into each. Maybe it just sounds like a manlier and heavier C&C. Who knows? But is it unique? Hell yeah. It's a unique take on alt metal. Many of the songs on this particular disc begin with that same guitar subtly, and it's really only to about halfway into the track that you get a really good whiff of anger and rage. However, don't go into this disc thinking you'll find the one big hit, their most popular song, because (trust me), you won't find it.

When I first gave this disc a chance, I couldn't find one song that stood out to me, which is why it's nigh impossible to review track-by-track. However, I decided (the next time I looked at the album) to listen to the entire album all the way through, and upon the disc's conclusion it made more sense. Although not every track segues into each other, it just sound better together. The more progressive, conceptual bands do it well. While many symphonic prog groups lay it all out in twenty minute leviathans, the newer wave of prog-tinged outfits prefer to lay it out through the entire album, such as Rishloo, The Mars Volta and Between The Buried And Me (hell, "Colors" was an hour long song divided into 8 or so tracks).

It sounds like a weird combination at first, and indeed, at second glance, it really is. I thought this would be a crappy record, I really did. Only did I realize the message of this album did I have a change of heart. Don't dig into this thinking you'll find some catchy fist- puncher to head-bang with your friends down at the bar; you ain't gonna find it here. Don't judge a book by it's cover; this is truly a heavy prog lover's disc right here.

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 Feathergun by RISHLOO album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.01 | 88 ratings

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Feathergun
Rishloo Crossover Prog

Review by Epignosis
Special Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

2 stars Rishloo's 2009 album is an acerbic and hard-hitting one. The vocalist has a mostly astringent and gravelly voice that can be uncomfortable in the higher registers. When the band becomes loud and aggressive, which is frequently, it can be off-putting; indeed, it becomes downright tiring by the third or fourth track. There are a couple of redeeming songs, namely "Diamond Eyes" and "Feathergun in the Garden of the Sun." This album may appeal to fans of heavy, assertive music, but it mostly isn't for me.

"Sissorlips" The opening song is a mostly boisterous affair, but also relaxed in some places. The lead guitar has a tone not unlike that of Omar Rodriguez-Lopez of The Mars Volta.

"Turning Sheep Into Goats" Clear electric guitar offers an intriguing passage rhythm an equally interesting vocal melody. The growling and yelling during the heavier sections mar the piece.

"Systematomatic" The previous track leads directly into this one, which jumps around from one shouted section to the next.

"River of Glass" This more bombastic piece continues the sonic aggression, and the vocals stay in a shrill, shouted angry mood throughout, except for about twelve seconds near the end.

"Keyhole in the Sky" Fortunately, Rishloo backs off the loudness in favor of a lighter, gentler rock song, even if it is a forgettable performance. The vocalist is content to remain excessive and piercing in places, however. The closing section is an odd bit of electro-pop.

"Downhill" This first of two extended pieces begins peacefully with bright, pretty guitar and a thankfully pleasant vocal performance. When it picks up, the lead guitar is somewhat disharmonious, but I enjoy the variety exhibited by the rhythm section here. The album's best guitar solo appears at the end, nearly marred by more caterwauling.

"Feathergun in the Garden of the Sun" With volume-swells, slide guitar, and delay, the introduction to this song is one of the best moments on the album. The addition of the distorted guitar distracts from what could have added a layer of dynamics to this harsh collection of songs. That said, it's one of the more memorable tracks.

"Dreamcatcher" This fifty-four second interlude is a hushed, atmospheric piece.

"Diamond Eyes" I quite enjoy this dredg-like lighter rock song, which eases up and offers a lifting melody throughout.

"Katsushika" One more subdued piece, "Katsushika" (a constituent of Tokyo, Japan) has more bright guitars and a solid rather than painful vocal delivery. It builds in typical post-rock fashion.

"Weevil Bride" Returning to the heavy rock music and screeching vocals, this last song is not as unpleasant as a lot of the material early on the album. The middle passage is quiet and almost unnoticeable. The last several minutes of the album strangely consist of a single instrument playing light, echoing chords.

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 Feathergun by RISHLOO album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.01 | 88 ratings

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Feathergun
Rishloo Crossover Prog

Review by Riuku

5 stars Man, this album is blowing my mind as I listen to it. It sounds like Circa Survive meets A Perfect Circle, and those are two of my favorite bands. The production is a tiny bit off but I think that may be my horrible speakers.

Vocals are great, never over-the-top and always impressive. The guitar playing has an ethereal quality to it and it's simply marvelous. The rhythm section does a really nice job with the various tempo changes; rather than being abrupt and stopping your musical trip...the rhythm section carries you carefully into this ethereal dreamscape. It's something else, and I don't even do drugs!

Some parts are slightly metal, but don't let that turn you off. It's just a tiny bit heavier than Rush at their heaviest. Some parts are straightforward rock yet they manage to keep that surreal quality. I truly think this album just must be heard because this band has to be supported. There is so much they can do.

The tracks themselves are great and standouts would be Turning Sheep, River of Glass, and Katsushika. But this album has a great flow to it. I need to analyze the lyrics now, that's the only part I'll come back to in my review. Otherwise, there is a lot of beauty to be found here in the post-apocalyptic guitar playing style. Just check it out and enjoy.

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 Feathergun by RISHLOO album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.01 | 88 ratings

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Feathergun
Rishloo Crossover Prog

Review by BrufordFreak

5 stars This is an album labeled as "Crossover" while it is heavier and even more metallic than what "Crossover" connotes. There are some very clever guitar stylings and effects used herein. Vocalist "Drew" is quite talented and versatile. I find the unusual A-B-A- B-C-D and A-B-C-B-C-D song structures quite refreshing. Though there are weaknesses and areas that this band can improve, I do think this may be a modern day masterpiece of progressive music.

1. Sissorlips (6/10)
starts the album out with one of the, IMHO, weaker songs on the album. Some clever guitar plaing and effects, but the 80s REO SPEEDWAGON "Roll with the Changes" vocals sound a bit too familiar . . . and dated.

2. Turning Sheep Into Goats (9/10) contains some quite melodic guitar playing--not unlike U2's EDGE?with some nice STYX- like (Crystal Ball-Grand Illusion era) vocals plus harmonies. At 1:20 there is a shift to a MAYNARD JAMES KEENAN-style 'chorus', then quickly back to the A section; 2:40 chorus return of Maynard, this time sustained a bit before devolving into a beautiful echo-arpeggio guitar section to fade.
Great vocal.

3. Systematomatic (7/10) continues rather seamlessly from the previous song, but quickly develops into the heaviest, most metallic song on the album. At 2:08 there is a shift to an early 80s rock sound (QUEEN or CHEAP TRICK). At 3:00 there is a shift to a very dreamy, eery muted guitar and distant muted vocal section to fade.

4. River of Glass (8/10) is Rishloo's THE MARS VOLTA song. It starts with a beautiful yet ominous intro till 1:12 when the hard rockin music and great TMV-like vocal cut in. 2:35 sees a TMV shift into eerie floating guitar with vocals until the heavy instruments enter. At 4:10 there is another quiet "eye in the hurricane" spell before havoc is returned to end.
This one could've been extended to great effect. Amazing vocal performance!

5. Keyhole in the Sky (8/10) begins with a familiar CYNIC/RADIOHEAD guitar sound accompanied by another REO SPEEDWAGON-like vocal until the second verse when the vocal tones relax. This is one of those moments when you realize you are hearing a truly extraordinary singer--versatile, emotional, with excellent lyrical delivery. It's like the band has an extra instrument--and a virtuoso performing it, too. 4:00 sees a weird decay into spacey guitar and carnival keyboard with 'trumpet' soloing to end.


6. Downhill (8/10) begins with a touching, emotional guitar and, soon, equally plaintive voice, to 1:20 when the band joins
in with some odd AC/DC-like standard rock riffs. Then, equally weird, is the album's only appearance of piano--here taking on an unaccompanied solo. Around 4:10 the band returns with a rather drastic shift as an awesome 3-note guitar arpeggio loops ad nauseum to the song's end (four minutes!) while the other instruments and vocals shift, develop and decay, morph all over the place over the top.

7. Feathergun in the Garden of the Sun (6/10)
begins with a 45-second JEFF BECK-like solo guitar intro. When the band enters it is with a TOOL/MAYNARD JAMES vengence. At 2:10 another guitar arpeggio loop appears--this one heavier. Drew's vocal final shows a weakness: in the higher registers. This song is just a bit too pointless--rage against the Shoegazers?--and a bit too sprawling and rambling.

8. Dreamcatcher (8/10) is a pretty little interlude of floating guitar chords.
ENO would like.

9. Diamond Eyes (9/10) begins with another catchy EDGE-like guitar arpeggio loop with near immediate singing. At 0:45 there is a shift to 1:08 when an ALCEST/MY BLODDY VALENTINE-like sliding guitar strum appears. At 2:50 a space-echo
guitar la NEKTAR's ROYE ALBRIGHTON takes over--accompanied by a PINK FLOYD rolling bass line and some cymbol play. Joined by a tender, haunting vocal till 4:40 when it seems as if the band is trying to 'lift' the song into another, higher gear--to no avail--it's just a tease--until, finally, it all crescendos in the song's final 30 seconds. Awesome!!

10. Katsushika (10/10)
is an amazingly complexly constructed song--with a kind of DAVID BOWIE/THE BEATLES feel to it-- especially in terms of it's unpredictable melodic twists and turns. Keys and chords shift and change quite interestingly. U2/EDGE/ RADIOHEAD-like guitar play throughout. Incredible song. Great vocal.

11. Weevil Bride (6/10) is, IMHO, the weakest, most disjointed and uninspired song on the album. It starts off great?beautifully? like another THE MARS VOLTA song--but then it gets too heavy--and too meanderful--for its own good. Too DEVIN TOWNSENDish.

Some stunning music here--playful guitar and powerful vocal performances. THIS IS NOT "CROSSOVER" MUSIC!! I look forward to more from this band.

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 Terras Fames by RISHLOO album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.47 | 21 ratings

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Terras Fames
Rishloo Crossover Prog

Review by Gentlegiantprog

4 stars Risloo are a modern progressive band from Seattle who frequently draw comparisons with bands like Tool and A Perfect Circle for vocal similarities and Dredg, Amplifier, The Mars Volta, Coheed And Cambria or The Dear Hunter basically just by virtue of them playing modern progressive music without sounding too much like any of the 1970s Prog bands.

Terras Frames is the band's debut full length studio album, released in 2004, and obviously being the debut of a relatively unknown band doesn't have the most amazing production job in the world, at least compared to their later work or the releases of bigger, richer bands.

Compared to the two releases which would follow it, Terra Fames is a lot more restrained and normal sounding both in terms of progressive moments and metal sounding moments; the band don't use as complicated structures or as many guitar effects or experimental tracks and generally write comparatively quite straight forward music throughout.

The album also doesn't flirt with heavy moments and screaming in the same way as those that followed it as a general rule, and while there are a few big moments such as on 'Seven Rings Left,' they don't have the same explosive power and ferocity as the biggest moments on their later work have.

Despite the fact that their later work took things much farther, and are some of the genuinely best and most exciting records out there, that does not in anyway mean that Terras Fames is in any way even approaching being a bad record. Tracks like the powerful 'The Water Is Fine,' with its impressive drumming, as well as the fabulous 'Illumination,' and the album closer 'Fames,' are well worth the time of any listener and illustrate the vast potential of the band even at this early stage in their career.

The band's very strong talent shines through on Terra Fames and the lyrics are just as perfectly formed and impressive as on all their later work. The record is very pleasant to play from beginning to end and nothing on it seems particularly weak or out of place, there are lots of interesting musical ideas on offer and impressive musicianship throughout. Anything from this record would sound great on a compilation or live set amongst their later work as importantly it all still feels like Rishloo.

Overall; Terras Fames is something you should definitely pick up once you are a fan of Rishloo, perhaps not the best choice for your first Rishloo album, but still absolutely worth trying. The only criticism one could fairly level at the record at all is that the albums that would follow are better, but that is more of a compliment in favor of those records rather than a problem with Terra Fames.

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 Feathergun by RISHLOO album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.01 | 88 ratings

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Feathergun
Rishloo Crossover Prog

Review by Gentlegiantprog

5 stars Rishloo are a fantastic and utterly underrated modern progressive band from Seattle. They mix pounding rhythmic buildups and vocally led alternative rock styles with progressive attitudes, effects laden guitar sections and virtuosic musical displays, all in a concise and grand manner coupled with particularly intelligent and evocative lyrics.

The band are perhaps most famous for Tool and A Perfect Circle comparisons, but there is a lot more to the band than simply homage to the unique and oft imitated talents of Maynard James Keenan, Adam Jones, Justin Chancellor and Danny Carey (although if you listen carefully, it is easy to pick up on just that; for each member and their specific tones and styles, especially because Rishloo feature rhythmic and emotive vocals that use of lot of long sustained shouts over musical transitions.)

While Rishloo write artistic and creative music suited to fans of progressive rock, the music falls more on the commercial and listenable alternative rock end of the prog spectrum than on the dense, challenging and difficult end. There aren't twenty-minute songs played at 30bpm full of drills, grotesque film samples and dissonant organs; just intelligent and interesting music written and performed by talent individuals.

I would urge anyone who is a fan of bands talented and focused like Dredg, Amplifier, The Mars Volta, Coheed And Cambria or The Dear Hunter to try out Rishloo and see if they suit you, chances are you will not be disappointed.

Feather Gun is the band's third full length studio album and sees an evolution and honing of the band's sound, moving away (apart from on the brilliant opener `Scissorlips') from easy Tool comparisons and further into a sound that is wholly Rishloo. Additionally, for a band who aren't particularly well known the production job and performances are absolutely sublime, the album sounds amazing and is a genuine delight to listen to.

For the most part the songs are shorter and lighter than on their second album Eidolon, but still more adventurous, powerful and progressive than on their debut album Terras Fames. Highlights include the faster `Systematomatic,' the cinematic `River Of Glass,' and the excellent mixture of light and shade that is `Turning Sheep Into Goats.'

In summary; Feather Gun is a brilliant record from a truly underrated band that fans of other modern progressive artists should really explore. All of their albums so far have been strong and Feather Gun is no exception, if you have any interest in Rishloo pick up a copy, you will not be anywhere close to disappointed.

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 Eidolon by RISHLOO album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.05 | 50 ratings

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Eidolon
Rishloo Crossover Prog

Review by Gentlegiantprog

4 stars Rishloo are an exciting and hugely impressive modern progressive band from Seattle, USA. Their sound is a very powerful and mixes soft haunting sections of what could be described as poetic beauty, with harsh and heavy build ups, unusual patterns.

The band can often get compared to Tool because of the similarities in the vocal department, and indeed if you do enjoy Maynard James Keenan's voice and vocal patterns then Rishloo are definitely a proposition you should explore. Musically; there are some very clear and audible influences from Lateralus era Tool as well, especially on this album, but the band aren't simply a Tool rip off.

Their sound comes with more light and sweet moments and travels into other territories, perhaps like A Perfect Circle and even certain less obvious parts of Coheed And Cambria and Mars Volta's sound. The best way to explain it is that each musician plays and uses tones and equipment similar to Tool, but the songwriting is quite different.

For example, the track `Alchemy Alice,' has some very Maynard-esque vocals when the song gets loud and heavy towards the end, but the track `Freaks & Animals,' is unlike anything Tool would ever write, in the same way that Mastodon and Neurosis share very audible and direct similarities but go about songwriting is utterly different ways.

When you get past who they do or don't sound like however, this is an utterly superb album, tracks like `Eidolon Alpha,' and `Disco Biscuit,' are dynamic and powerful examples of superb musicianship and extreme talent. From occasional touches of piano, to effects laden bass-guitar and disjointed hi-hat triplet lead beats and odd time signatures, Rishloo provide a brilliant listening experience .

Eidolon is the second studio album from Rishloo, and sees the band getting more direct and focused, with more frequent heavy moments and songwriting which is more memorable and professional than their previous works whilst still retaining musical complexity.

This is one of the most instantly enjoyable records I have heard in the last few years, and got put on repeat pretty much from the time I discovered it. If you like Progressive music, especially modern progressive music then I strongly urge you to give Rishloo a listen.

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 Eidolon by RISHLOO album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.05 | 50 ratings

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Eidolon
Rishloo Crossover Prog

Review by JLocke
Prog Reviewer

4 stars So much more does Rishloo offer in their sophomore release, ''Eidolon''. By contrast, it's almost a night-and-day difference to me; the first album was very, very simple musically, hard hardly any rhythm section, the overall mood was melancholic, and the topics broadly drawn. This time out, the technical side of their playing has amped up drastically, the drum and bass are much more furious and prominent, the tone of the album is much more melodic and hopeful to my ears, and . . . well, okay, the topics are STILL broadly drawn. Haha.

Lyrically, ''Eidolon'' is just as much of a slowly-unraveling mystery as its predecessor, if not more so. Drew is still singing his heart out through obscure, poetic symbolism, but the words do seem more profound and meaningful this time despite that. So really, everything about this album is better.

Since I find myself so much more impressed by this album than the first, I felt the need to give a song-by-song approach to this review. I hope that is alright with whoever may be reading this. My reviews are typically on the longer side, so hopefully if you're already familiar with my style, you won't mind reading a little.

The record starts out with 'Prosag', a fairly basic (yet interesting!) ambient intro. Not even a minute long, it is merely an opening act for the album's first true 'song', which I will go to now.

Track 2, 'Freaks & Animals', is where this opus truly kicks into gear. Already, everything is better than ''Terras Fames''; the guitars are so much fuller and heavier, the drums sharper and more exact, the bass is crunchier, no longer as much in the backseat as in the previous release, and the vocals are completely out of sight. For one thing, Tyler, the band's first drummer, has been replaced with a much more capable player in Jesse Smith. The man is absolute electric on the kit, and his more complex, original approach to the skins really help add a certain flare to the band's music that now feels painfully absent when going back to album number one.

Another significant change is in Drew Mailloux's vocal style. On ''Eidolon'', he is his own beast. Any similarities to Maynard Keenan that may have been there, Mr. Mailloux left behind on the ''Terras Fames'' record. Now he can be heard boasting a much more aggressive lead voice, fueled by much more power and confidence. Anything he may have held back before comes spilling through considerably, and this is just the first track! One moment in particular, around the 2:22 mark, hits me the most on an emotional level. Such beautiful melodies accompanied by such a powerful voice makes for quite the enjoyable vocal experience. As mentioned earlier, Rishloo's music may be a bit more voice-heavy or even vocal-RELIANT than many here would prefer, but I find Drew's voice to be such a crucial element, and so wonderfully integrated, that I find myself giggling like a little kid every time he throws a new and interesting melody, which, by the way, is quite often on this album.

Let's not leave out Dave Gillette's heavily improved guitar, either. I was fan of his playing before, but he too has come more into his own on this outing, In fact, they all have. Now, instead of being a bit buried in the mix and shy in execution, the distorted guitars are front and center, giving the songs a much heavier edge full of complex arrangements and solos that the stuff on ''Terras' was nowhere near.

Sean's bass playing, as I mentioned before, is much more audible this time around, and I'm so very glad that it is! This guy can play! I had my doubts due to his absence on so much of the first record, but listening to this over the past couple of years, it's quite obvious to me that he is a tight, rhythmic player with plenty or originality that adds a lot to the music. Too bad he wasn't shown enough love on the first album, but good thing he finally got the proper treatment on ''Eidolon''.

I've already touched upon Jesse's abilities, and not being a drummer myself, I can only imagine how much fun these new tunes must have been for him to play. Since everything has been stepped up from the last release, we find ourselves hearing the odd time signatures here and there, and plenty of wonderful flourishes and fills. Without the proper guy behind the sticks and skins, a band's music has the potential to fall apart quite easily, but here no song ever feels loose or uneven, and every beat is correct and exact. The music flows and grooves according to its own rules, and never does it once feel forced. That is due in no small part to Smith, so again, I think the right choice was made in giving him the duties of replacing the first guy.

'El Empe' Continues the same enthusiasm and unconventional beauty of the last track. At this point in the record, it already becomes obvious that the guys are preparing to integrate a lot of sound effects and atmosphere into the music. Don't worry, it never becomes 'too much', or crowds the actual music; it just adds additional layers that were absent from the first release, and as a result helps the album as a whole sound much fuller and more complete. Also, this song features what is arguably Drew Mailloux's best vocal performance to date. It's just staggering to hear the notes he can hit, and how long he can hold them, milking each one for all the possible emotion they can hold.

The next song on the list is once again just fantastic. Titled simply 'Pandora', it is the first song that musically is quite similar to something you may have heard on ''Terras Fames''. Perhaps this song's origins lie somewhere on the first album's cutting room floor, but it has clearly been enhanced and pumped full of much more emotion and attitude than anything on ''Terras''.

So far, the album, for me, is a straight-through listen with no skipping of tracks being necessary. That claim remains true for a few more songs, but ultimately this album DOES run out of steam for me. I'll explain what I mean when we get there, but for now, let us continue to enjoy all the riches ''Eidolon'' has to offer.

'My Favorite Things' is just an interlude track, but very cool and worth listening. So far, so good. Can the band keep my no-skip desire going for yet another track?

Why, yes they can, as it turns out! 'Alchemy Alice' is the most unusual track on the record so far, and has a very interesting main riff, featuring an extremely high-pitched, synth-enabled spacey guitar. Not as easily-digestible as the songs before it, perhaps (especially for RIshloo fans who are not typically Prog-inclined), but this is Prog Rock, dammit, and the music SHOULD require multiple listens sometimes. Certainly the most diversity yet can be heard here. I find myself dropping everything else I may be doing when listening to this song on my headphones during the explosive outro.

'To Tame The Temporal Shrew' is a very spacey, airy song full of manipulated guitars and hard-hitting bass. At 1:22, Drew lays another signature-style melody on our eagerly-awaiting ears, and does what, in my opinion, he does best, which is . . . he has this incredible ability to seduce us with small pieces of much larger potential melodies that never were; melodies that only appear once in the entire song, yet leave us wishing for so much more. WIth so many melodic changes going on in nearly every song Rishloo has to offer, this 'teasing' us with these short but sweet vocal flourishes has become somewhat of a signature that he has seemingly continued into the band's third album, ''Feathergun''. Though I won't go into that right now, and I will instead save my comments for the actual ''Feathergun'' review, whenever I get around to that.

Anyway, the song soon moves into a completely new realm, and this is where Sean's bass playing really begins to shine. What a player! His fast-moving fingers playing complex rhythms underneath the vocal lines like a sharp knife cutting through butter; the perfect combination. After the song finally comes to its end, it segues into my personal favorite interlude track, 'Weeble Wabble'. I can't really describe it, so you'll just have to hear it for yourself. It's great, though, if you're as big a fan of he band's vocals as I am (can you tell?).

After 'Weeble Wabble', it's time for the album's centerpiece, and arguably the best track on the whole thing: The title-track 'Eidolon' two-parter. First up is 'Alpha', and already you can tell things are calming down before the storm, with Gillette playing a simple, hard-hitting guitar line that comes to ahead about one minute in, playing single notes underneath Mailloux's long, melodic breaths, setting up for the song's true beginning, which starts off building up and never stops. Plenty of awesome rhythmic and melodic surprises follow, one of my favorites being around the 2:10 point. Think of this song (and its second part, as well) almost like making love to a new, exciting partner for the first time. Things build, then dwindle, only to rise again even more intense and powerful than before. At 3:48, the first hints of this epic track's 'main theme' are heard, and the listener has no choice but to surrender to wall of sound to follow, taking them away much faster and more intense than any roller-coaster ride ever could.

By the time part two, 'Omega', begins, the band's rhythm section kicks into high gear, pushing forth a stirring drum and bass beat that I have never been able to resist bobbing my head to no matter how many times I hear it. That wave continues to ride out throughout the rest of the song, which is so rhythmically sound and varied, I get the chills and always feel saddened whenever this amazing song finally comes to a close. Too short, if you ask me, but it does what it intends, so perhaps leaving me in want for more is the best thing for it.

Sadly, this is where my personal, steady enjoyment of this album ends. I've been listening to it for over two years now, so I'm sure all the opportunities for the remaining four songs growing on me have long past me by. 'In Pill Form' may have served as a fine closing track, but the truth of the matter is, the 'Eidolon' suite felt like the natural, logical ending to this record to me. Had they stopped there, I would have had a hell of a time NOT giving this album a full five star rating, but as it is, the Rishloo crew for some reason felt the need to press on, and so for me, the album ends up feeling a little too long. Nothing is wrong with 'Zdzislaw', per se, but it certainly isn't as good as the other songs, in my opinion. Although Drew's chanting-style vocals and the cool, groovy guitar DO give it a certain charm. Ultimately, though, this is where things start to feel a bit stretched thin, if you get my meaning. Songs that could easily last for only three minutes end up taking five minutes and longer to fully realize.

For instance, 'Disco Biscuit' starts off as a fine little tune, but the actual amount of music heard feel a bit recycled a few times to me. I think had these final four songs ('In Pill Form' included) been saved for either a very good EP or carry-over material for a future album, they may have gotten more praise from me. It isn't really the songs themselves that are the issue; it's the placement and amount of said songs. After the tenth track, I experienced a bit of listener's fatigue, and this is because the songs that followed it sounded too similar and dragged out the album's length past the point when it felt the most comfortable. Sure, had they stopped after the title track, ''Eidolon'' would have ended up being a shorter album than the first in terms of actual length, but now I think this album FEELS considerably longer than the first, because the final twenty minutes or so are full of good ideas, but poorly executed. These last few tracks to me sound like a grouping of disjointed afterthoughts and wasted, rushed potential. It is as if the need to deliver a longer album this time around drove Rishloo into throwing in some last minute, not-quite-finished tracks for the simple sake of padding things out a bit. Not something I think was the best move, but it happened, for whatever reason, and now' we are left with this.

I can definitely say with confidence that this 'Disco Biscuit' track in particular was a birthing ground for many new ideas the band would later fully realize and flesh out on album number three. In fact, Dave Gillette's screeching guitar solo towards the song's end is basically a slightly less-polished version of something he would later take on in full force on ''Feathergun''. Such decisions to include stuff like this on ''Eidolon'' has led to the final quarter of the album to have almost nothing on common musically with the rest of the record. This one is a transition track, and I don't think it should have been made part of the second record, since much of its content clearly got re-worked and implemented into ''Feathergun'' (and much more successfully, I may add).

'Shades' is the final track. If any of these final four tracks have the right to be on the album, it's this one. Still not as up to par as I feel the rest are, but it's certainly a step away from the obscure and towards the familiar. The vocals are really quite good, and this song overall isn't that bad, but it's still just too much extra 'excess' to digest, in my view. However, despite this, I would say it serves as a fairly decent ending to the piece. I still think 'Omega' would have been the better choice, but hey, what do I know? I merely listen and critique. These guys are certainly better songwriters and musicians than I could ever hope to be. Still, my honest opinion IS my honest opinion, and this album goes on far too long.

Oh yeah, and there is a pointless 'hidden track' at the end to waste even more time.

Okay, okay, so these final few paragraphs may have made you think I'm going to give ''Eidolon'' a low score, but honestly, despite what I consider to be a lot of 'filler', ten (and arguably eleven, when including 'Shades'!) of these fourteen tracks are absolute gems. Ten out of fourteen. Not only that, but every second of music on here, even the stumbling moments, far exceeds everything heard on the band's first release, and that shows clear evidence of true progression, which is something Rishloo should be extremely proud of. Many bands stumble completely with sophomore releases, it seems, and for so much of this album to be done the right way, it heavily outweighs the more lackluster moments. On top of everything, the bottom line is simple: I keep coming back to this album again and again, and have done so ever since I first laid ears on it. That's gotta mean something.

So, all in all, ''Eidolon'' is a much more mature, risky, original and enjoyable album than the first, and currently remains my personal favorite from the group. So much has been improved, and so many moments are swelled with raw emotion that I cannot give this sucker anything less than a four. And I honestly don't think that is too high of a rating, even with the excess stuff considered. The fat here is very small in volume, and for the most part, the quality of this album is very lean. Most musical efforts stumble in many more places than these guys did on this album, and it isn't fair to give it a three, since it is clearly better in every way than ''Terras Fames''.

So it is with no regret whatsoever that I give Rishloo's ''Eidolon'' a huge, resounding 4 out of 5. A true gem that should not be missed by any Crossover Prog fan. You're missing out on some trule incredible stuff if you don't give this one a listen. An excellent addition, indeed.

Happy Listening.

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 Terras Fames by RISHLOO album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.47 | 21 ratings

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Terras Fames
Rishloo Crossover Prog

Review by JLocke
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Rishloo's debut release is a hard one to pin down. Hailed by many, and scathed by others, it lacks some of the originality that would later become much more apparent in the band's career. Having said that, Terras Fames is still a great little album, and certainly a fine introduction to the band.

The instrumentation heard throughout the record is simple, but deceptively so/ It puts me in mind of Pink Floyd's signature approach of conveying so much emotion through doing so little on the technical side of things. With the Floyd, the emotion arguably came from Dave Gilmour's soulful, honest guitar playing; with Rishloo, it is expressed through their singer, Drew. Seriously, this guy can sing better than most of the well-known frontmen in this genre. He has a style all his own, yet it would become more unique on the next album. Here, he is slightly reminiscent of Maynard James Keenan, and therein lies the reason for many unjust Tool comparisons these guys seem to get every time a new album is released. But I'll go into why that is a rubbish claim later in the review.

Not only is his voice spectacular, his poetic, intellectual lyrics convey a mind much more mature and philosophical than most would expect in a 21-year-old (which he was at the time). He often speaks in allegory, deep symbolism and at times, raw, profane-ridden cries for understanding and solace. But whichever side of Drew Mailloux you prefer, you cannot deny the guy is a brilliant songwriter.

The other bright light in this often dark, moody musical pool would have to be dave Gillette's guitar playing. He isn't a shredder by any means, but his clear lack of 'proper' music theory has caused him to invent his own approach at the instrument, with very intriguing results in my opinion. Moments like the mysterious, eery opening riff to 'Harlequin', or the mighty ending to the title track 'Fames' give me shivers even to this day.

Unfortunately, as many other reviewers will probably tell you, the rhythm section of this band feels a bit lacking, and at times completely non-existent. The drummer on this first album, Tyler, is decent, but he often plays is a predictable manner that at times drags the songs down when it is entirely unnecessary. Sean the bass player is barely audible except for small bits when his part is necessary to the song. It just feels to me as if these guys were all Guitar players at heart, and didn't give the other instruments as much attention as they should have to convey a well-balanced line-up. The drum and bass elements would strengthen considerably on the band's next release, however, so this error was apparently short-lived.

The song structure on this album is very free-flowing in nature. Nearly every track ends in a completely different place than where it began, and very few of them even have recognizable chorus or verse sections. It truly feels like a musical journey where no moment lasts for too long or wears out its welcome. That's a classic Prog staple. Typically on a Rishloo song, the same guitar riff may be played several times underneath Drew's varying vocal styles, keeping it fresh, then the song will switch gears completely, often times relying on the vocals to provide the pathway for the changes rather than the guitar. I have heard many times where the music was clearly written around the vocal melody, which to me seems like a fairly uncommon thing to do, but then again, I'm no expert on what 'typical' songwriters go through. The point is, however, that Rishloo has an unconventional approach to songwriting, and it affects their overall sound in a very positive way.

As a result of the essentially structure-less songs, the band has a very vocal-heavy style. That may not appeal to everyone, especially if you're picky about the singers in your bands, but believe me, the vocals in this band are very easy on the ears, and although they can get a little high at times, it never turns into a Geoff Tate thing where the guy attempts to be operatic. He just has naturally higher voice than most, a la Jon Anderson or, yes, Maynard Keenan. However let me make it very clear right here and now that Rishloo is NOT a Tool clone. Some people with the inability to make clear distinctions seem to think that because the band's singer resembles a singer from another band, then they are intentionally 'ripping-off' that said band. It's happened with FIsh-era Marillion, and it happens with Rishloo as well. Let me assure you if you have heard these comparisons and are worried to make a purchase: the only thing Tool and Rishloo have in common is the tone of their singers' voices. That is where the comparisons end.

If you WOULD want me to make a comparison for these guys, I would say if anything, these guys are much closer to Dredg or the Pink Floyd than they are Tool, APC, or any other Maynard Keenan groups. The style of music as I explained is very light, melodic and simple. Yes, there are dark moments more often than not, but even then, RIshloo has a clear, individual voice, and I think it is quite unfair to pigeon-hole them into a group of less-respected sound-a-like bands.

My favorite tracks from the album are ''Harlequin'', ''Seven Rings Left'', ''The Water Is Fine'', ''Lovely Room'', ''Illumination'' and ''Fames''. Really, I can't find much wrong with this album, except that when compared to the later releases, it's obvioud the guys were holding back a lot with this outing. I can understand. This was their first album, they wanted to make a good impression, they weren't signed to any label, they needed to succeed on their own, so they 'played it safe'. Nothing wrong with that. Although I would say that if you can only buy one Rishloo album initially, Eidolon is a far superior effort in almost every way.

Still, I can't deny that I have very warm feeling for this album, as I discovered it during a very pivotal time in my life, and I will always love it for being my companion during those days. However, for an honest, no-B.S. rating, I can only give ''Terras Fames'' a 3 out of 5. Nothing wrong with it, but Rishloo can and has done better work since.

I hope more people learn about these guys and enjoy their music as much as I have over the years. Not for everyone, I'm sure, because the music (especially on this one) is so simple, but for those who enjoy purely emotional, lovely, mellow Prog Rock, you really shouldn't pass this band up.

Happy Listening.

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