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TRACK LIST: 1. It's Time 4:43 2. The Casualty Score 4:40 3. Zero 4:48 4. Containment 5:14 5. I Was Wandering 10:09 6. Day of the Watchmen 5:28 7. The Civilized War 12:12 8. The Ugly Puppet's Head 6:38 9. Nuclear Casket 1:56 10. Calm Before the Storm 2:18 11. Wired Wrong 4:29 All tracks: by Ray, except 1: Ray, Schultz, Noch, 6: Ray, Schultz, Wood, & 5, 7: The Rick Ray Band. LINE-UP: Rick Ray - guitars; keyboards; vocals Rick Schultz - reeds Sam Glorioso - drums Gary Wood - bass; vocals With: Phil Noch - vocals (on 1, 2, & 11) Produced & engineered by Ray.
Prolusion. "Night of the Living Dedicated" is the third album that guitarist and composer Rick Ray released with THE RICK RAY BAND. In all, Rick has released about thirty solo and related albums. Please use the search engine on the site's title page if you wish to read the other Rick Ray-related reviews available here.
Synopsis. It seems Rick Ray and his band have finally found all that they needed to create an album, which would've been excellent from the first to the last note and would have not featured weak spots nor influences. Very well composed, arranged, and constructed (OK, produced), "Night of the Living Dedicated" presents eleven tracks, most of which shine with originality and are definitely progressive as well. While the basic style of the band is still Hard Rock, only three out of the nine songs are in every respect linked with that genre: It's Time, Zero, and Wired Wrong (1, 3, & 11), while the others concern it only partly. The Casualty Score, The Civilized War, Containment, I Was Wandering, Day of the Watchmen, and The Ugly Puppet's Head (2, 7, 4, 5, 6, & 8 respectively) are largely instrumental. Highly diverse and complex, the first two of them represent the trinity of Hard Rock, guitar Art-Rock, and Jazz-Fusion and are just brilliant. The other four in many ways follow this winning style, but are a bit less diverse and, simultaneously, less heavy than those two. Nevertheless, these are very good songs. Some elements of either Symphonic Art-Rock or Symphonic Space Rock are available on most of the tracks on the album in general. Rick Ray and his long-time friend and collaborator Rick Schultz, who plays various reeds, are certainly the central moving forces in the band, and their solos are just strikingly inventive and masterful. There also are two instrumental pieces on the album, and one of them is brilliant as well. This is Calm Before the Storm (10), performed by Rick on a classical guitar. The other instrumental, Nuclear Casket (9), showcases Rick's talent as a keyboardist. This is a beautiful symphonic piece, which, nevertheless, is too short to be regarded as something remarkable.
Conclusion. "Night of the Living Dedicated" is undoubtedly the band's best album to date and, along with "You People" (Rick's solo effort from 1999), is one of the very best Rick Ray-related albums that I've heard. It might become the trademark of their sound, and I only want to believe that the band will continue developing their most progressive tendencies, never leaving this road in their future endeavors.
VM: June 10, 2004
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