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(42:41, Dreaming Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Here It Is 5:21 2. Delirium 4:04 3. Zenith 5:29 4. Oblivion 5:41 5. Bluegression 5:40 6. Intrusion 4:59 7. Dance Warrior 3:20 8. Hatred 8:07 SOLO PILOT: Simon Railton – all instruments
Prolusion. "Here It Is" is Simon RAILLTON's debut as a solo artist and was released in 2008 by Dreaming, a sub-label of Musea Records. There is not much information available online on the artist, but the press information for the album states that Railton is a UK based guitar teacher and composer with a vast experience in various jazz, heavy metal and thrash metal outfits.
Analysis. In the last three years I've been reviewing music in my spare time, the releases from the French label Musea Records have generally been ones I've been looking forward to handling. Both the main label and the various sub-labels attached to it have been impressive in releasing generally strong productions, and only on rare occasions have I come across albums that I felt were weak. I'm afraid that this case is one of those rare occurrences, as this album is amongst the weakest productions I've encountered so far. There are some good aspects to this CD. The compositions are generally adventurously planned, with a good variety of styles, sounds and moods explored in each tune. Railton, although a guitar man, mixes in many synth and keyboard passages, and even the bass is in the limelight on some occasions. Furthermore, shredding is kept to a minimum, as Railton opts for the use of melodic and atmospheric soloing and riff patterns to convey his ideas. But that's about it on the positive side for this release, I'm afraid. The drums are programmed and sound pretty much like the ones I heard used by Bulgarian cover bands playing in pubs in my native Norway in the ‘80s: Sharp in a tinny sort of way, pretty basic in style and expression, basically pretty awful. The bass guitar isn't much better either; if it is badly emulated or just awfully mixed I really can't tell. Synths and keyboards are somewhat better. Some passages are in fact rather intriguing; but on all tunes there are plenty of horrendous-sounding segments too. Some of the compositions appear to be somewhat out of sync as well, where the bass in particular is asynchronous to the rest of the instruments at times. This might be a planned effect, but the way the instruments in general and the bass in particular sounds, my opinion is that it’s a failure in this particular case. There are some good ideas on this production, and I hope and think that Railton himself would have wanted this album to sound better than what it does. As productions go I have to be honest and call this one seriously flawed, and one that probably should have been worked on a lot more prior to release.
Conclusion. The musical style explored on this production is a form of instrumental progressive metal with leanings towards hard rock or vice versa. If one doesn't mind the at times rather badly and dated sounding emulated instruments used, this release might be worth checking out. Anyone curious about this release is advised to check out samples prior to purchasing it though, as the overall sound of this album will seriously impact its general appeal.
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