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Rizengard - Chapter 21 CD (album) cover





3.97 | 11 ratings

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4 stars Mexican band RIZENGARD was formed back in 2011, and following just a sole year as a band unit they were ready with their debut album "Chapter 21″, self released by the band on the usual platforms we come to expect in this digital age as well as a physical CD.

Throughout 14 tracks clocking in at 70 minutes they present their take on progressive music, and it's a package that comes with many surprising twists and turn. One might say that variety is something of a key feature in the approach this band has to the art of creating music, with diversity another central word I suspect many will use when describing this initial creation of theirs.

The foundation, or at least the ground and center of their exploits appears to reside within the progressive metal realm. The greater majority of compositions tends to either visit or end up with an arrangement of the kind that invites comparisons to good old Dream Theater: Majestic guitar and riff constructions, albeit with massive sometimes replacing majestic as the best description but also with a fair few instances of the guitar bit toned down, at least as far as guitar riffs are concerned. Be that as it may be, a certain taste for progressive metal is needful to be able to enjoy this album.

Another recurring feature are instrument details with more of a jazzrock and fusion touch to them. Rarely hitting grounds of a purebred or closely related expression of that ilk as such, but rather often one or more of the instruments will add in a slight, subtle coloration referencing the jazzier parts of the progressive rock universe. Often in a smooth and melodic manner, contrasting the more metal oriented escapades quite nicely in sound, expression and intensity all.

Gentler, melodic sequences is another recurring element here, at the mellowest closer to art pop than rock as such actually. Add in the occasional folk-oriented flourishes too and we're left with quite the amalgam of different styles, and an album by those facets alone merits a description as a case for the eclectically inclined. Just briefly mentioning their use of, presumably, digital bagpipes on a few occasions, in the context of a band with something of a foundation in progressive metal, is a description that is probably rather revealing as far as underlining that particular opinion.

Latin and world music inspired rhythms another details that merits mentioning, as well as a few gentler excursions that reminded me quite a lot about the mellower side of Joe Satriani. Not because of the compositions and their expression as such, but due to the nicely toned down, melodic guitar soloing that gave me an instant association to Satriani's piece Always With Me, Always With You. Elsewhere guitarists and keyboardist both tends to opt for a more flamboyant and intense delivery though, with shredding, scale movements and the occasional neo classical oriented solo run arguably more a part of the proceedings than the more atmospheric laden, harmonic solo sequences. I might also add that a taste for guitar and keyboard soloing in general is needed to be able to appreciate this production, as we're served more than a fair amount of passages of that kind.

Eclectically inclined fans of progressive rock equally fond of the more accessible parts of the progressive rock universe and old school progressive metal should define a key audience for this ambitious Mexican band quite nicely. "Chapter 21″ is a production sporting enough twists and turns to keep the avid listener busy throughout many listening sessions, and will be a nice treat for those who decide to lend them an ear.

Windhawk | 4/5 |


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