Reviews by ReviewYou

Latest Reviews

Earamas “Rise of the Chimera”

06 Sep, 2011 Rhonda Readence

Gary Wayne Clark is an author and musician who has completed two literary works of art collectively titled The Devolution Chronicles, which inspired Clark to write the album Rise of the Chimera. This album is a sequel to Passage to Niburu, also inspired by The Devolution Chronicles. The sci-fi coupling of the novels and the albums makes for an excellent journey into the world of Zacary Ryker, a bounty hunter who is tracking his nemesis and stumbles into a world where evolution runs backwards.

Glen Dale Spreen, an arranger, producer and conductor whose most notable musical accomplishments consist of arranging several hit songs for Elvis Presley, assists Clark in the production of this epic album. With ethereal soundscapes, ambient storytelling, pulsating electronica and theatrical drama, fans of sci-fi and exceptional music will be in unbridled bliss. Rise of the Chimera is a musical and literary work of art with a clean, clear sound that is second to none.

The album begins with “Behind the Curtain,” a narrative piece that includes Clark introducing himself and giving listeners a brief summary of the story contained within the album. This short narration is accompanied by wonderful orchestration and otherworldly sound effects that will send shivers down the spine. The sound quality is absolutely divine and includes a Native American influence coupled effortlessly with visions of deep space travel and boundaries without limit.

The opening track morphs smoothly into “Hindenburg Has Landed” and this tale has officially gotten underway. With dramatic orchestration that brings to mind many legendary movies and gives listeners a sense of adventure, this elegant instrumental piece has all the ingredients of a classic, chill-inducing work of art. “Devolution – Rise of the Chimera” contains robotic sounding spoken words, lamenting and reflecting. This track goes from solemn and dark to upbeat and rocking without a hitch and the guitar work positively screams. With smooth transitions throughout, vivid imagery and eloquently spoken word, this piece draws listeners into the story and makes it impossible to turn back.

Rise of the Chimera continues with the dramatic “Two Degrees of Separation,” another instrumental piece rife with theatrical sound effects and an electronic sound that defies description. This flows gracefully into “Just Breathe,” a slower instrumental number that contains beautiful piano playing, delicate guitar work and haunting Native American flute playing. Bordering on spiritual, this creative visionary work will soothe, calm and relax while lending itself to the imagination.

“Ryker’s Revenge” continues the storyline of Zacary Ryker, the bounty hunter, and the sci-fi ethos of this piece is brilliant. The narration is concise, clear and engages the listener in the trials and tribulations of the main character. “Game On” is an energetic and decisive composition that seems to gear one up for battle. While there are no words, listeners with a good imagination will envision Ryker suiting up and heading out to slay his enemies. Dramatic orchestration throughout brings a feeling of danger and excitement. “NELI’S Sweet Irish Dreams” comes as a surprise after the daring “Game On”. This piece is slow and carries a romantic essence that is unexpected after the theatrical preceding track. With beautiful composition and elegant instrumentation, this song is nearly a lullaby, complete with the sounds of falling rain and crashing thunder.

“Dark Walk” is an enchanting track with eerie drums and exceptional guitar playing. Each song on Rise of the Chimera is produced with a quality that is beyond perfect, but the sound is exceptionally clear during this one. The sound effects are simply stunning. “Solace” will soothe even the most tortured of souls with its graceful melody, uplifting harmonies and the relaxing sound of ocean waves. This is best listened to with closed eyes and an open mind. “Caissons of Courage” is the epitome of Earamas, complete with a dramatic flair and powerful orchestration. The sound of a gunshot and ejecting shell in the middle of the song gives this piece a theatrical boost that lends itself perfectly to the building crescendo and gentle conclusion of this work.

“Unsweet Surrender” has an underlying sadness to it that will tug at the heart. It is impossible to listen to this song and not let the mind wander wistfully to happier times. Listeners will be enthralled by the haunting beauty and graceful elegance of this classic masterpiece. “A Warrior Has Fallen” continues in this vein with funeral-esque organ playing leading it off. The song then becomes another brilliant example of high energy electronica with exquisite bass playing and intricate drum work. Funeral music coupled with a tribal essence and ethereal space-like sound effects seem like they would not go together, but Earamas makes it work wonderfully.

Rise of the Chimera continues its intense journey with “Taunting Memories” which is another Earamas special, complete with excellent composition, powerful melodies and perfect sound production. This leads the way to “We Are Invincible,” a fast-paced track with exceptional sound effects and a rhythm that begs to be danced to. One of the few tracks on the album with lyrics/spoken word, this one will make listeners feel that anything is possible and other worlds are just around the next corner. This piece would make excellent fodder for a video game due to its intensity and unrivaled sound. The album closes with “The Multiverse Beyond” which is a narrative wrapping up the tale of Zacary Ryker. At the conclusion of this piece, and the album Rise of the Chimera, listeners will likely sit in awed silence, contemplating everything that has been heard.

Gary Wayne Clark and Glen Dale Spreen are brilliant composers and undisputed geniuses behind the controls of a sound board. Rise of the Chimera is powerful, haunting, beautiful and unique. The sound quality is astounding and this is an album that can be listened to many times, each time yielding some new and previously undiscovered treasure.

Reviewed by Rhonda Readence
Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)

Half Drawn “Breaking Free”

12 Jul, 2011 Rhonda Readence

Half Drawn begins their album Breaking Free with a hauntingly melodic intro full of elegant piano playing that will catch the heart in between beats. The vocals are distorted and distant, which adds to the ethereal vibe of this short and beautiful intro.

Having been momentarily lulled into a soft quiet place, the hard hitting notes of “Ascension” shocks the body into overdrive. The track begins with a heaviness that is not expected but quickly turns into a lyrically sound piece dealing with the endless circle of love and life. Giving a sense of comfort and hope, Half Drawn has coupled heavy riffs with a melody that is achingly beautiful and lyrics that enlighten.

“Clearwater” continues in this vein with a melodic rhythm and thought-provoking lyrics that are delivered with emotion. The instrumentation is well-executed throughout and the sound quality is clear and professional. This is a solid offering that will become a staple in any music lover’s collection. “Masquerade” hits a bit harder with guitar chords that have an edge to them. With a slightly angry undertone, this piece shows a heavier side to Half Drawn that will please fans of hard rock and get some heads banging.

Breaking Free rocks seamlessly onward with “Taken For Granted,” which carries a smooth rhythm and some exceptional guitar work. This catchy track will be a treat to see performed live. As with each preceding track on the album, the lyrics are very well-written and will hit home with people from all walks of life; this is Half Drawn’s biggest asset, aside from their stellar playing. “Veil of Vanity” slows the pace down a bit and listeners will be captivated immediately as the soothing melody washes over them. The vocals are executed with skill and grace and this is one of the more intriguing pieces on the album. The song will call to people and reach into the depths of their souls.

“Seven” has an edginess to it that highlights Half Drawn’s exceptional sound and strong vocals. From soft ballads to crunching chords, this band covers the board with regards to changing up their delivery. Each song has similarities, but each song is also unique in itself, and listeners will appreciate this. “Ravenous” is an intricate piece with excellent sound quality. The production and engineering on Breaking Free has been wonderful throughout, but on this track in particular listeners will gain a greater appreciation for the crisp, clean sound as each note is heard clearly.

“Head Held High” has some of the best lyrics yet and listeners will relate to them easily, dealing with feelings of betrayal, anger and love. Half Drawn has shown repeatedly that they are masters of songwriting. “God Save The Queen” is one of the slower and more melodic tracks that this band does so well. Leaving fans with a sense of unity amongst heartbreak, this song will be the one everyone clamors to see performed live.

Breaking Free closes with “Siphon” and it’s a powerful note to end on. Half Drawn leaves listeners with the sensation that this album needs another spin, immediately. The flow of song placement is genius and the album unfolds smoothly, always keeping listeners engaged. The songs themselves are full of dashes of brilliance and heart-wrenching melodies that will remain long after the songs are over. Lyrically, Half Drawn is an extremely versatile band that has mastered the art of putting emotions into words and those words to music. The instrumentation, vocalization, and overall production throughout are rife with talent and professionalism. Breaking Free is a must-have for anyone who enjoys excellent music and honest lyrics.

Review by Rhonda Readence
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)

7 Billion Units “Nonzero”

08 Jun, 2011 Rhonda Readence

The band, 7 Billion Units, is based out of Brooklyn, New York and consists of Johnny Young, Dave Weise, Jim Toscano and Dan Behrman.  Their single Nonzero is quite the contagious piece of music.  It has it all; a beat that won’t let go, a smoothness that is enviable, killer guitar work and solid vocals.  This song will call out to rockers of all genres, styles and ages.  To be succinct, this is a piece of music that has a groove to it that just calls to people.  After one listen, you will want more.  You will want the full album.

Some might compare the vocals to Ozzy Osbourne, particularly the Ozzy of the Black Sabbath era.  The instrumentation is influenced by Black Sabbath as well, with heavy chords and a doom-laden essence.  There are also exceptionally melodic guitar breaks throughout and the track moves along with a fluid gracefulness.  Hard-hitting drums coupled with the bass guitar add a sense of foreboding and darkness.  The vibe people will get from this piece is one of complete Bad Assery.  As soon as the track begins, the ears perk up and pay total attention.  The rhythm is addictive, the sound quality is phenomenal and when 7 Billion Units performs this live, the crowd will scream for more.

The guitar work is clean and polished, likewise the rhythm section.  The vocals are crisp and well delivered.  The lyrics are intelligent and carry a sense of rebellion and deviance.  With tempo changes that are navigated with perfect skill, it is clear that the musicians in 7 Billion Units are quite talented and perform well together.  Likewise, this piece is engineered with perfection, making the quality of sound nothing short of extraordinary.

Nonzero will appeal to listeners who are fans of stoner rock and psychedelic rock, as well as goth, acid and sludge rock.  Even metalheads will be pacified with this offering because they will want to know what else this band can do.  This piece carries with it influences of many genres, which will be sure to please many people.  Anyone with an ear for quality music will be in their glory while jamming this song.  7 Billion Units has a winner with Nonzero and this single will have listeners eagerly awaiting the release of the full-length album.

Review by Rhonda Readence
Rating:  5 stars (out of 5)

Genetic Agony “Genetic Agony EP”

17 May, 2011 Rhonda Readence

Genetic Agony’s five-song self-titled EP was recorded at Retrostudio in Madrid, Spain and mastered at the legendary Abbey Road Studios in London.  Chock full of melodic guitar hooks, vocals that carry superior strength and well-written lyrics, Genetic Agony is clearly a band on the rise.  The track “American Dream” kicks things off with a bang.  With little prelude, screaming guitar riffs enter the ear canal and go straight to the head.  The sound is incredibly polished, the instrumentation is tight, and the lyrics are intelligent and delivered with a confidence that cannot be denied.  Excellent drum work prevails throughout, married to the bass with precision.  The guitar playing is likewise flawless, and Genetic Agony is an extremely polished act with a crisp sound that comes right out and bites.

“Blue” is a heavy rock track with wailing guitars, pounding drums and nice bass lines.  The lyrics are deep, well-written and will likely find a home in the hearts of listeners for years to come.  Despite the deep nature of the lyrics, this piece never slows its fast pace and headbangers will gladly thrash themselves to death while rocking out to this one.  The vocals are delivered with an intensity that many bands strive for and rarely accomplish.  This is a very solid piece of music in all aspects.  “Black Demons” begins slowly, with melodic guitar work and the pace slows significantly.  Everything about this piece flows and the sound quality is incredible.  Genetic Agony seems to have outdone themselves with regards to lyrics on this one.  Deep, thoughtful, and mired with angst, this piece will make one delve into the very depths of the soul and take a look at what’s there.  Excellent guitar work and overall stellar instrumentation complete this piece and make it a true classic.

“Desperation” picks up the pace a bit with a faster rhythm.  As always, Genetic Agony is tight, professional and flawless.  This piece is not overly complex, but that doesn’t stop it from making an impact.  The vocals are right up front and in-your-face, but not in a loud obnoxious way.  Everything is very well balanced, but the listener will be sure to focus on the vocals more so on this track than in the preceding ones.  There is some exceptional keyboarding in this song that adds an essential ingredient to the masterpiece this track has become.

The EP Genetic Agony closes with the beautiful “Just Promises.”  This piece is graceful and elegant.  Showing their softer side, Genetic Agony will have legions of fans swaying to the rhythm with lighters held ablaze.  If this track doesn’t send chills down your spine, you have no business being a fan of music at all.  The lyrics are full of raw emotional and are delivered with candid honesty.  Truly an inspirational piece of music, “Just Promises” is Genetic Agony’s answer to everything that is wrong in the world.  This band has much talent and they know precisely what to do with it.  This EP is a study in composition, songwriting and professional and flawless performance.  The gentlemen of Genetic Agony won’t have to reach very far to touch the stars.  They are already there.

Review by Rhonda Readence
Rating:  5 stars (out of 5)

The Good Fight “Snapshots”

17 May, 2011 Rhonda Readence

The Good Fight is made up of life-long friends Jeremy Clark and Jon Zorrella, both from Manville, New Jersey.  Their debut album Snapshots best fits into the soft alternative rock genre.  There are plenty of gracefully performed acoustic pieces with enough electric riffs to keep it rolling.  The lyrics are extremely honest and well-written, dealing with a variety of subjects like love, acceptance and human emotion.

The opening track on Snapshots is “The Best Part,” and it’s a slightly shaky start.  While this track is performed well, the vocals are occasionally pitchy and the harmonizing isn’t exactly smooth, which causes a mild sense of discord.  In contrast, the vocal harmonizing in “Something” is done exceptionally well and the entire song is performed with excellence.  There is slight Rusted Root element coming through in this piece and as with all the songs on the album, the lyrics cut right to the core with honesty and emotion.  With plentiful acoustic guitar work coupled with some electric riffs, this track is a good summary of what these two musicians can do.

“Spotlight” is one of the more solid pieces on the album.  This song will find a home within the hearts of listeners as they hear the candid lyrics, take in the fantastic acoustic guitar playing and sing along to the confident and strong vocals.  “Move On” is another great offering by The Good Fight consistent with what we’ve grown to know and love about this band.  They seem to have a way of reaching into the hearts of listeners, seeing what is in there, and then writing about it.  The Good Fight will not gain loyal fans because of their guitar playing or their vocals, although both are good.  They will gain loyal fans because of the subject matter of each song and the uncanny ease with which they seem to know what hurts and how to make it better through their music.

Snapshots also contains vivid imagery as in the tracks “Beach Song” and “Where To Go.”  Both pieces offer settings in which the songs take place and the lyrical poetry cannot go unnoticed.  “Beach Song” is more upbeat than “Where To Go,” but they both boast excellent guitar work and welcoming vocals.  The song placement seems to be deliberate and this ensures that the album continues along seamlessly.

The greatest asset for The Good Fight is their lyrics, but the instrumentation is impressive as well.  The graceful acoustic piece “Right Now” combines both of these attributes to make for a perfectly well-rounded track.  The vocals are solid throughout and carry the emotions of the song well.  Another standout piece on the album is “On High,” which carries a bit of a bluesy attitude.  The sound production is well done and the vocals are delivered with surety.  The rhythm of this song has a sense of danger and the unknown.  It also flows with elegance from start to finish.  Fans will likely want to see this piece performed live more than any other for the simple fact that it seems out of character for this band, and yet so perfect in spite of this.

The Good Fight winds Snapshots to a close with “Your Voice,” which needs little comment.  It is just as solid as any other track on this album.  It has more electric guitar than other tracks, and more of an emotional impact on listeners due to the exceptional lyrics, but we already know these guys are masters of this.  The final track is “Cover Your Ears,” but I doubt anyone will take that advice.  It’s a light and graceful exit to an album that is haunting, beautiful and very lyrically sound.  The Good Fight has created more than music with their debut.  They have created an outlet not only for themselves, but for all of us too.

Review by Rhonda Readence
Rating:  4 stars (out of 5)