One Word Review: Warm
This album is a small gem that should be snatched up at once if you're lucky enough to find it somewhere. Highly melodic, overflowing with emotion and a technical prowess that is highly impressive are key elements. Ricochet is a band from Germany playing something in between progressive rock and metal, and this was their debut.
My absolute favorite element of Ricochet is the way they manage to keep the melodic element in focus through the whole album, while they keep the music complex enough to warrant seemingly limitless replay-ability. There is constantly something going on in the background, some small detail to notice, but similar for all the songs is a desire to sing along. Partly, this is because of lead vocalist Karl-René Jobig, whose voice is extremely smooth and warm, but also because the production delivers a very dynamic sound, where the instruments are kept at a reasonable level, giving ample room for the music to breathe.
Keyboard, bass, guitar and drums work together in a tight unity and the music has a very lively feel to it. It adds to the intensity and gives the album a positive vibe, even though the lyrics often contradict this.
Holy Bell is an effective opener. Very dramatic and filled with emotion, it sets a haunting mood in the opening seconds and quickly sucks the listener into its world. Vocalist Karl-René shows great depth and control, even if he often sings in an overly dramatic way.
The 14 minute Among the elements flies by every time. The catchy chorus provides a focus point, while the technical music imbues the song with a myriad of little detail, constantly fighting for attention. There is a great energy in the music. The guitar has a very clear sound to it and this comes forward in the extensive instrumental section, where the song takes on an almost ethereal feel.
Life sort of creeps up on you slowly and before you know it it has passed by. The powerful bridge section gives the song a great energy and the chorus effectively channels this into a highly melodic and slightly unpredictable chorus. Funny ending as well.
Vision's End brings a welcome kick of power to the album. The keyboard and bass work in the song is worth noting. The ending instrumental section brings a haunting sense of closure to the song.
The album contains a trilogy of ballads. Maybe a bit too much for some people's taste, but I wouldn't want to miss any one of them.
Angels is a passionate piano ballad. There is an incredible emotion in Karl-René's voice and he creates some beautiful vocal melodies and manages to add several layers to the song. Strings add to the soft atmosphere and the music fits perfectly to the spiritual lyrics.
I need an answer also has the piano as its main instrument. Especially the beginning to the second verse brings a soaring feeling that reminds me of what Damian Wilson is capable of with his solo releases.
The acoustic Avalon has a strong vocal performance and ends the album on a wonderfully warm note.
The lyrics deal with love, betrayal, dreams, corruption, outcasts and leave food for thought.
The guitar solos on the album need a special mention. In Life, the solo provides a vigorous entry to the last verse. Similar for all the solos is that they are well played and never boring.
Fans of Shadow Gallery, Dream Theater, Vanden Plas and even Damian Wilson's solo albums will surely find something to like. What Ricochet has created here, is something unique and instantly recognizable that still holds up two decades later, and that is pretty damn impressive for a debut.
Written By Steen
Online: Thursday, January 21, 2016