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TRACK LIST: 1. Cell 6:48 2. You Never Had 6:13 3. My Way 4:43 4. Amok 5:14 5. Waiting for Tomorrow 4:15 6. The Human Race 5:33 7. My Last Goodbye 5:27 8. Blackness and White Light 5:42 9. Revolution 5:02 10. Mother 10:00 LINEUP: Rusty Pacemaker Ц vocals; guitars, bass; keyboards Franz Loechinger Ц drums With: Lady K Ц vocals Hell-ga Ц keyboards Darth Love Ц guitars
Prolusion. RUSTY PACEMAKER is the artist moniker of an Austrian man based in Lanzenkirchen who, from what I understand, prefers to be anonymous. "Blackness and White Light" is his debut album, and following a seven year long creative process it was released through his own label Solanum Records in 2010.
Analysis. In a day and age where it seems that the greater majority of artists are the product of schooling or studying in some shape or form, it's always interesting to come across someone who, in his own words, is completely self taught. A musician and composer who have had a go at mastering the various skills needed to compose, record and produce their music all by themselves. Rusty has employed the skills of a drummer to manage to fulfill his visions, but apart from that this album is the result of his self learned skills in all and every detail. Musically we're dealing with a product that is hard to describe and place. The stylistic expression resides somewhere on the borderline between hard rock and metal, and while not overly experimental or daring there are many features that merit a description as refined or sophisticated, to some degree at least. Borderline progressive metal perhaps, but not in a manner that is close to any common approach of this stylistic expression. The guitar, or rather guitars carry this album through and through. Drums and bass function as rhythm providers almost exclusively, the latter with some extended roles on occasion. But the dampened, dark riffs on top are the dominating feature, with an expression and timbre that often come pretty close to a droning sound rather than the more common riff patterns or barrages. Melodic guitar soloing is a frequent addition on top, while clean electric or acoustic guitars frequently underscore. Crafting neatly contrasting layers of sounds, light and dark textures combining quite nicely, but always with the dark side as the dominating feature. As one might expect from a CD sent to a website catering for progressive music, these creations sport some additional features too. Infrequent inserts of standalone acoustic guitars or mellower, light-toned themes being one, and slightly more common are richly textured themes featuring melody layers that shy away from the common harmonic display ever so slightly, infrequently with keyboards adding a mostly dampened nuance to the arrangements. The make or break for this disc for many listeners will be Rusty's vocals. Slightly atonal and distinctly accented, his delivery made me think of a younger Arnold Schwarzenegger more than anything - as he talked back in the 80's to be precise. While I can't say that I was highly impressed with this disc myself, there's no denying that Rusty Pacemaker is a talented artist. To my ears he appears to be an artist steadily learning his craft, and one that will gradually develop and hone his skills as time goes by. Many artists have walked down the same path before, with humble but talented beginnings gradually developing into works of pure genius. For some reason or other, Rusty's musical endeavors had an oddly relaxing effect on me personally, inspiring my mind and thoughts to wander and reflect in a soothing and almost hypnotic manner. A rather unexpected experience to get from an album such as this, as neither hard rock nor metal normally tends to inspire such reactions.
Conclusion. Austrian artist Rusty Pacemaker has finished the first chapter in his very personal artistic journey with "Blackness and White Light", and a personal production it is: distinct in sound and performance, and to what degree a listener will find this dark-toned music of a borderline hard rock and metal expression to be of interest is likely to be a highly individual one too. As such, I'd surmise that those who generally enjoy artists with a unique sound to be a key audience for this album and this artist. In particular if low key metal is a style of general interest.
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