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Descent 0:33 SevenDevils 3:41 Chantof the Fathers 3:09 SnakeDance 4:37 CrossingTo Freedom 3:15 Coyote 6:04 Red Torrent 4:06 Riverof No Return 4:55 China'sLast Stand 4:44 BuffaloEddy 4:14 CarvedIn Stone 6:13
Line-up: Scott Rockenfield - drums & percussion, keyboards; Paul Speer - lead guitar, bass guitar, keyboards; "Symphony of Voices" - vocalizes
Composed and produced by Rockenfield / Speer. Recorded at 'Rainstorm' studio, Bellevue, WA.
Scott Rockenfield, the drummer for the famous Queensryche since the birth of this band, and Paul Speer, the well respected producer and musician, who has garnered two Emmi awards for music video, have released their second collaborative work, the long-awaited follow up to their Grammy nominated video album / CD "TeleVoid".
It is so refreshing to listen to "Hells Canyon" after the both latest CDs from Queensryche. As I remember, Rockenfield presented earlier at least one composition as its author or co-author in each album of his "mother band". I think, it is possible that Scott's talent of a songwriter wasn't in demand properly since we now exactly know he is really a talented composer with his own very original way of 'musical thinking'. Of course, I didn't forget that "Hells Canyon" is a colaborative creation of two open-minded composers and musicians, though, if honestly, I haven't heard anything from Paul Speer until now. It is obvious, however, that Scott and Paul have been working together already for several years not in vain, and the "Hells Canyon" album shows the right way they go together.
Thematically, "Hells Canyon" is a conceptual work (despite the fact this is an all-instrumental album), as each composition musically reflects those parts of Hells Canyon itself and those phenomena and real events that are inherent to this truly magic gorge quite convincingly, according to their titles and short descriptions of them. Well, sometimes these are, maybe, just rumors, surrounding like a mist one of the most mysterious and 'unearthly' places on Earth, but anyway, the music of "Hells Canyon" is full of the same mysterious and as if unearthly atmosphere. What is, IMHO, the main thing, this dynamic, on the whole, album has some very hypnotic nucleus (in a good sense), and it will probably be never boring to listen to this magic music.
Structurally / schematically "Hells Canyon" is something like a very original blend of hard-edged Art Rock and Progressive Ambient. Each composition contains a few different themes with some truly progressive arrangements, a lot of diverse, very tasteful and virtuostic guitar solos. And drumming… this is really something very special, and it seems Scott feels with his own heart each note (that for sure, since he is one of the two composers of this music!). But you need to hear his playing on this album - from soft beats to powerful cascades - to appreciate his talent as a (progressive) drummer properly. Keyboards' touches and flashes bring a real magic together with unique (really as if unearthly - always) choruses of the "Symphony of Voices" vocal group, adding even more hypnotic influences to this already very charming music.
If you want to comprehend (or maybe, it would be even better to say to feel) "Hells Canyon",
play it loud and with the lights off. This is really one of the most unusual and innovative
instrumental albums I ever heard. And finally, it is available exclusively at
VM. October 9, 2000
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