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Fernando Refay - 2011 - "The Paradox"

(58:07, ‘FR’)



1.  The Paradox 2:16
2.  The Hour of Justice 6:25
3.  The Wicked 10:40
4.  El Paraiso a Sus Pies 3:43
5.  My-Oh-My 0:44
6.  Welcome to the Show 5:34
7.  Reflection 6:40
8.  She's Like a Green Meadow 2:16
9.  Trespassing 2:52
10. A Frozen Nightmare 10:13
11. Walking on Air 6:38


Fernando Refay – all instruments
David Minian – vocals
Juan Gris – vocals
A few guitar players

Prolusion. Fernando REFAY is a musician and songwriter from Argentina. Made up of eleven tracks, “The Paradox” is his debut solo effort.

Analysis. So, here is Fernando Refay’s brainchild and musical excursion. Apart from the fast electric guitar leads and vocals (which are present on four and eight of the tracks respectively), the man handles everything from soup to nuts: keyboards, rhythm and acoustic guitars, bass and drums, the latter two items programmed, though. On the vocal tracks, he is fairly adept at playing a few different genres of music, ranging from pop rock/AOR (Welcome to the Show and Walking on Air) to quasi-acoustic ballads (El Paraiso a Sus Pies and She's Like a Green Meadow) to Neo Prog (The Hour of Justice, The Wicked and Reflection) and even classic Symphonic Progressive (on the longest track here, the 10-minute A Frozen Nightmare). The Wicked additionally has a Satriani-like approach in places, with plenty of excitement produced by the histrionics, but with few differently vectored soloing parts, while Reflection begins and ends as a straight rocker. Both of the ballads feature passages of acoustic guitar, and all of them are satisfactory, particularly those on El Paraiso a Sus Pies, the first half of which is strongly reminiscent of Fluff from Black Sabbath’s “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath”. Thankfully, the sole song with Spanish lyrics, it is largely instrumental. I have no idea who of the guests is behind the microphone there, but I dislike his singing. Whereas otherwise the vocals, although delivered in accented English, are good and expressive. The keyboard parts are normally both efficient and masterful (the church organ interlude on Reflection being certainly the most impressive feature of this effort), and while most of the synthesizer leads evoke Rick Wakeman’s, the piano ones seem not to bear any influences at all. On the other hand, most of the songs are only made up of 3-4 themes, therefore featuring many returns to a previously played one. And of course, programmed drums just don’t match up against drum heads and steel cymbals and can be obnoxious already after a couple of tracks. The same words are overall relevant regarding the synthy bass. As for the vocal-free pieces, My-Oh-My belongs to electronic music exclusively, and although the title track and Trespassing only begin as e-music pieces, later on taking the shape of symphonic Art-Rock, none of them are impressive either. Generally speaking, everything that was/is terrible about one-man ‘ensembles’ is represented on the instrumentals, as most of the music does sound synthetic, I’d say even plastic in places.

Conclusion. Due to the presence of vocals, as well as some acoustic instruments, on a series of the tracks, this album is little better than most of those by you know whom, at least occasionally leaving an impression of being a band effort, though it would have definitely much better suited to a full group rendering if it had featured at least a real drummer.

VM=Vitaly Menshikov: April 8, 2012
The Rating Room

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Fernando Refay


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