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(64 min, Unicorn)
TRACK LIST: 1. Offering 8:11 2. Into Phase 5:55 3. Plight 1:20 4. Drone 4:59 5. Blue Stem 11:53 6. For a Time 2:09 7. Soft Disguise 8:13 8. Drowning in Fire 6:03 9. Bird's Eye View 3:48 10. Half Wing 7:37 All tracks: by Flores & Picado. Produced by Ring Of Myth. LINEUP: Danny Flores - lead vocals; bass; keyboards George Picado - electric & acoustic guitars Scott Rader - drums; keyboards; vocals
Prolusion. The American trio RING OF MYTH has been around for about fifteen years. However, "Weeds" is only their second CD, following "Unbound" from 1996, which I haven't heard.
Analysis. With influences from Yes to Rush and everything in between, Ring Of Myth offers us a pretty adventurous and enjoyable trip to the musical world that is quite reminiscent of '70s Prog Rock in its genuinely many-sided appearance. It would be fully justified to use the proverb: "Influence is not opposed to originality" regarding all the instrumental themes and arrangements ever present on "Weeds", as they are free of derivative features, not to mention any specific borrowing. Yes, the previous sentence certainly implies that it could not have managed without a fly in the ointment. Danny Flores's vocals are not unlike Jon Anderson's, but thankfully not everywhere on the album. Just listen to the longer tracks: Blue Stem and Soft Disguise. In any event, this matter does not much affect the pleasure I'm getting while listening to the material. Generally, the current situation around the genre should keep us from being snobs each time we hear something familiar. Otherwise we should hate many great bands, Marillion for instance, while we just love them. So I find Ring Of Myth a remarkable outfit too, their music being much more intricate than probably anything by the Neo heroes. Although symphonic colors are rare guests in the palette, the album has a lush, saturated sound and is normally full of unpredictable, highly intriguing events. The trio collectively takes one through a lot of different pictures within each of the compositions, save the excessively romantic, vocal-heavy Drone and For a Time, and is technically on par with most so-called titans of Prog of the '70s. As to the stylistically structural aspects of the basic material, the sound is built around guitars, working in an Art-Rock meets moderately heavy Prog-Metal vein, steering far of anything that could be considered commercial. The one instrumental piece, Plight, is easily one of the primary style's brightest representatives, despite its shortness. That being said, the album is ornamented by the harshest and, arguably, the most compelling compositions. The first and the last track, Offering and Half Wing, are a much heavier attack overall, with growling guitars and bass and a pretty aggressive bottom end in general.
Conclusion. Even considering all its drawbacks, I find "Weeds" more than a merely good album overall. Those who are not nitpickers, who miss the gorgeous '70s sound, can bravely check this CD out. Only exclude the fourth and the sixth track when programming your CD player prior to listening to it; otherwise they will play in your head for the next few days.
VM: October 24, 2005
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