The problem with most CD reviews is you only
get the opinion of the one critic doing the review. So we thought it might
be fun to try something new here by giving the exact same CD to two different
critics (or more) and see what they each come up with and just how much
difference a single critic's opinion can make.
Note: due to the nature of this series, the reviews
may tend to be more in the first person than you are used to with music
Ra - Duality Review
2. Fallen Angels
3. Tell Me
4. Take Me Away
5. I Lost Everything Today
6. Only One, The
9. Say You Will
10. Got Me Going
11. Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic
12. Far Enough
15. Swimming Upstream
Paul Gunnels's review - He gave it a
Before listening to this CD I had never
heard this band before and didn't really know what to expect. The first
song, "Fallen Angels", really got my attention; I kept finding myself replaying
that track over and over again. The CD is about 50 minutes and has 15 tracks
with 13 of them being songs. Personally I am not a huge fan of interludes
and non-songs put in CD's so the short tracks titled "Fear" and "Love"
will be the only thing you may find yourself skipping.
The songs on the CD all have varying sounds
and styles. Songs like "I Lost Everything Today" are filled with electric
guitar riffs (and even a guitar solo two minutes into the song) while "Swimming
Upstream" is completely acoustic. To go in between, you have songs like
"Superman" which have both acoustic and electric blended beautifully together.
This mixture makes the CD flow between one song and another very well.
While the songs varying to some degree, there is a strong consistency with
the way the songs sound. The lead singer's vocals range in style and sometimes
resemble Chris Cornell (Soundgarden, Audioslave) with other times you get
a John Mayer feeling. Songs like "I Lost Everything Today" and "The Only
One" have some very catchy lyrics and the way they are sung make it even
My personal favorite songs are: "Fallen
Angels", "I lost Everything Today", and "The Only One". For people who
like bands such as Audioslave, Default, and Seether this is a solid, all
around album that I give 5/5 stars. The band sounds experienced and the
CD is put together very well. Expect to hear much more from these guys
antiGUY's Review - He gave it a Rating
be 5 if I hadn't heard their debut)
To be quite honest I wasn't expecting much
from this CD. So many bands in the recent past have delivered stellar debuts
only to falter with their sophomore albums. Therefore, I kept my expectations
low and was pleasantly surprised with what I heard.
While Ra's debut, "From One," set the standard
rather high, the band managed to almost reach that dizzying high with Duality,
despite lineup changes and taking three years to release this follow-up.
This is a band that has always been about
songs and that hasn't changed one bit with this CD. However, I will say
that this effort seems a tad more mainstream formulated than their debut.
You can easily hear "Fallen Angels" spinning out of control on KROQ or
other "modern rock stations," while it's a well crafted commercial single
it's also a strong piece of songwriting that calls out to hit the repeat
button. My only real qualm with the band on this CD is that the Middle
Eastern influences really took a backseat this time around. That was my
favorite part of their debut and this album is not quite as dynamic, ambitious
and far reaching as the debut but it still delivers where it counts with
it's progressive modern rock. I would have loved to hear the band take
off further in the directions they started on their first album, but I
can't say I'm really disappointed because this CD does deliver from start
to finish, especially on the more dynamic songs like "Tell Me" (modern
prog rock), "The Only One" (big beefy riffs), "Superman" (smoking solo),
"Got Me Going" (yeah! The Middle-Eastern influence is back!). These are
the tracks where Sahaj really shines.
The thing I like about Sahaj is that he
is hard to pin down. He fits comfortably into the modern rock fold but
at other times he harkens to singer's like Geoff Tate and Corey Glover.
But the best part of this album is when you go beyond the surface of how
the songs sound and delve into the lyrics and the duality of the messages
conveyed within the two halves of the album. The first half deals with
"Fear," but salvation and redemption comes in the second half with "Love".
It's not as heady as say "To Our Children's Children Children" (Moody Blues)
but in this day and age a cohesive concept album is a welcome departure
from commercial schlock.
Ra once again proves that major labels
sometimes get it right and sign quality bands. Duality is an exceptional
follow-up to From One and Ra stands head and shoulders above their
contemporaries and should appeal to fans of bands as varying as System
of a Down and Incubus to Yes and Queensryche. Now that my friends is impressive!
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