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(53:52, 'Red Bazaar')
TRACK LIST: 1. Paragon 7:19 2. Refraction 7:02 3. Inspirations 5:58 4. Is It for Real 10:17 5. Coupe De Grace 9:03 6. Miasma of the North 6:14 7. The Illusionist 7:56 LINEUP: Mick Wilson – bass; keyboards Andy Wilson – guitars Paul Comerie – drums
Prolusion. Formed in 2007, RED BAZAAR is a trio of (most likely young) British musicians. “Differential Being” is their second full-length album, consisting of seven tracks, six of those instrumental compositions. This is my first acquaintance with their work.
Analysis. The band appears to be almost exclusively a trio of bass, guitar and drums. I mean, while keyboards are credited, they’re only distinctive on the first and the last track here, Paragon and The Illusionist respectively, including a brief piano interlude in both cases. Otherwise they sound normally in unison and-so-on (4th & 5th) with guitar leads, thus leaving an impression that either some MIDI device or a guitar synthesizer was used too. Overall, it can be affirmed that, on this release, Red Bazaar takes the listener on a musical trip back to the glory days of mid-‘80s English semi-progressive metal bands like Trouble and Primus, although almost without vocals, which I find a drawback, considering the outfit’s format and its chosen style. The first three pieces on the album, Paragon, Refraction and Inspirations, are all especially rich in sections that can serve as good examples of a Primus sound. Another Primus comparison is that the guitarist seems to be scant in effective soloing, unlike the bass player, who definitely dominates here. There is little that is memorable about any of these compositions (such as a Led Zeppelin-evoking motif, the resourceful, at times marching Deep Purple/Ian Paice-style drumming and some hard rock, Nazareth-inspired, moves on the first, the second and the last of them respectively): perhaps the repetitive guitar riffs just put the mind in filter mode. Generally there are rather many spots on the album where the riffs, being repeated endlessly, lose all the elegance they originally had or, lacking a better expression, when they were invented. The other four tracks – Coupe De Grace, Miasma of the North, The Illusionist and Is It for Real (listed in line of ascent from worse to better) – all have sections in which the musicians begin to really stretch out, displaying some interesting interplay between all of them. Coupe De Grace throughout has a space or, rather, cosmic rock-meets-metal quality to it, which is reminiscent of Voivod circa “The Outer Limits”, but is too schematic and predictable to be really compared with the Canadian monsters’ creation. Miasma of the North also reveals an atmospheric space rock-like landscape somewhere in its middle, but otherwise it is similar to Is It for Real and The Illusionist alike. In both cases, I hear doom-metal-evoking heaviness akin to Cathedral, a distinct grunge sensibility reminiscent of Soundgarden, and also hints of the Canadian prog-metal trio Rush, though there are also some mellower parts. Of course, neither of the two is really a prog-metal piece. Nonetheless, while the music isn’t complex, it’s at least fully cohesive, besides which there is a subtle yet redeeming eclecticism that lends interest to the pieces’ sound. All in all, I’ve picked Is It for Real as the album’s highlight. The only song here, it’s more diverse than any of the others, comparatively frequently entering the prog-rock territory.
Conclusion. There are some interesting arrangements on four of the seven tracks presented, but only two of those really take hold of me – or the listener, if you will. In the final analysis, I can regard this album as a mark of potential, but most of the music just isn’t properly developed – okay, isn’t fully developed to the level where it could have been had the trio at least engaged a free keyboard player.
VM=Vitaly Menshikov: April 5, 2012
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