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(44:25, Karisma Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Through the Solar Storm 4:50 2. Wasteland 4:58 3. Para 6:23 4. The Hunger 7:14 5. Mirrors 10:18 6. The Conclusion-1 4:48 7. The Conclusion-2 5:54 LINEUP: Nicolay Tangen Svennaes – keyboards Petter Hallaraaker – guitars Geirmund Hansen – vocals Gunn-Hilde Erstad – bass Baard Kolstad – drums With: Nora Madelaine Aanonsen – violin
Prolusion. The Norwegian band RENDEZVOUS POINT has been in the works since 2010, and the current line-up solidified in 2012, from what I understand. "Solar Storm" is their debut album, released in the fall of 2015 by Karisma Records.
Analysis. Many new bands are heralded as the best new thing to happen since; well, the last thing that was the best new thing to happen. This kind of spin has been a staple in music journalism for quite some time, in all genres of music I'm aware of. Admittedly, it is a refreshing experience for someone working a lot with music to encounter something that does sound fresh and new, especially if you're a bit jaded and tired of encountering multiple bands that all explore inside a rather confined context. Rendezvous Point is a band that typically would have been described in the new and fresh context, I suspect, at least if they had been a major label act touted towards the typically jaded music journalists, as their approach is rather novel at times and they do sound both fresh and actually fairly timeless to boot. What solidifies the fresh sound of the band is, as odd as it may sounds, experience. Most impressive among all the details for me are the drum patterns and rhythm effects that remain a quality aspect throughout, a detail in the highest quality department to be precise, delivered by Baard Kolstad (Leprous, Borknagar, ICS Vortex), and just about as dazzling are the guitars provided by Petter Hallaraaker on guitar (ICS Vortex, Solefald), two key instrumentalists that both provide those moments of brilliance that help elevate the total experience to a higher level. That the rest of the band isn't all that far behind that impressive duo on their chosen turf merits mentioning as well of course, and in Geirmund Hansen they have secured one of the more talented vocalists I have come across for a while. The type of music explored here belongs quite nicely inside a progressive metal context, which isn't all that surprising given the stated backgrounds of some of the musicians involved. This isn't an extreme form of progressive metal however, and neither is it a typical production within the genre. The most typical aspect, and well executed at that, is how the band alternates between calmer and more powerful arrangements, ranging from fragile passages with almost something of a neo-progressive touch to them, where plucked guitars and careful piano or keyboard details are key elements, and on the other side majestic guitar and keyboards or guitar and organ combinations produce the almost grandiose soundscape that is something of a staple in progressive metal. But the devil is in the details of course, and in this case, these are plenty. A slight nod in the direction of stoner metal is a presence throughout due to the manner in which impact riffs are applied, nervous guitar details with a slight nod in the direction of post rock is a part of the proceedings too, as are more indie rock-flavored instrument details, quirky at that, which have a slight taste of a band like The Mars Volta. Elegant and clever use of careful singular piano details both in the calmer and the more majestic arrangements is another detail of note. All assembled in moving compositions, compelling, vibrant and with the lead vocals adding the emotional aspect needed for songs of this nature to have an impact beyond the intellectual. And while I will not state that this is a band that is the best new thing to happen in this genre, their take on it is refreshing and does strike me as both vital and sophisticated, and with a fairly broad appeal to boot.
Conclusion. Progressive metal is a genre where most new bands entering the field tend to follow the lead of some heralded band or other. Encountering a new band that opts for a more novel approach is always a good thing when regarded in that context, and the vital, sophisticated material Rendezvous Point presents us with on their debut album is one that merits a check by anyone fond of progressive metal, in my opinion, and in particular by those who tend to be charmed by artists that, by and large, will be described as innovative in this genre.
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