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Ra - Raw Review

by Kevin Wierzbicki

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If you didn't know that they were already on stage you could just imagine the members of Ra marching into the Machine Shop in Flint, Michigan to the staccato drum cadence and spacey synthesizer opening of "Fallen Angels," the tune that the band chose to open this live concert disc. For those totally unfamiliar with the band a good comparison can be drawn to Queensryche---lots of bee sting guitar work, a huge reliance on a driving drumbeat that often veers down polyrhythmic side streets and lots of fuzzed out low end from bassist P.J. Farley. What sets Ra well apart from Queensryche, however, is the vocal talent of Sahaj Ticotin. He doesn't often flat-out show off, but Ticotin has a range that singers like Geoff Tate and Eddie Vedder can't match. On "Violator" Ticotin turns a few simple lines into an exotic Middle Eastern-sounding choir, twisting and turning vocally as if his head is swiveling while he dances amongst his harem trying to pick out his nightly fun while emoting sadness at what he's passing up. The concert set list is made up equally of tunes from Ra's two studio albums; their debut From One and last year's Duality. Before launching the band into "I Lost Everything Today" Ticotin laments having written the song because it's "hard." He's referring to the end of the song where he has to reel off a litany of rapid fire wordplay---not exactly a tongue twister---but one fluff would clearly make the guys look like buffoons. Nothing like that occurs of course and that's in line with the note-perfect presentation throughout. These guys are not underrated; they're just not widely enough heard. Maybe that will change with the release of the studio album they're working on (to be called Black Sun), one song of which, "Don't Turn Away," is tacked on at the end of this album in a studio version. The Machine Shop is a favorite stop for Ra but the next time they play the Flint area they may be forced to unloose their prog-rock in a much larger venue. This concert was filmed for a DVD but no release date has been set.


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Ra - Raw

Label:Cement Shoes
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