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RedZen, The: Void

Void, the debut record by Italian progressive fusion newcomers The RedZen, is an admirable effort. As a mostly instrumental album full of the usual prog sounds—sharp guitar riffs, symphonic keyboards, thick bass lines, and tight syncopation—it works well, but like so many new acts in the genre, it fails to make a unique statement.

The Redzen was formed in 2009 by Roberto Leoni, Ettore Salati, and Marco Schembri (three ex-members of the well-regarded Italian progressive rock group, The Watch). Eventually, session keyboardist Angelo Racz would join and Schembri would be replaced by Nicola Della Pepa. With influences including Return to Forever, Ozric Tentacles, Weather Report, Pink Floyd, ELP, King Crimson, and (of course) Dream Theater, the quintet certainly have a lot of sounds to draw from; unfortunately, while Void is full of tight musicianship and ambition, it feels a bit too generic and familiar.

The album opens with the aptly named "Cluster." Guitar and keyboard riffs bounce off each other as the rhythm section maintains order, and the usual sharp timbres are utilized. "Hot Wine" leans more toward a jazz fusion basis; guitar wizardry is blanketed over a foundation of piano chords. "Into The Void" changes things up even more with a classical casing full of affective, extended notes and acoustic guitar and piano arpeggios. Finally, the only vocalized track, "Alexa In The Cage" (which is reprised instrumentally to close Void) breaks up the monotony sufficiently enough, but it doesn't really do anything special; singer Joe Sal has a lower register than many other progressive metal singers, but he still carries similar histrionic properties, and the melodies are quite forgettable.

Void suffers from problems that are all too common in the genre today—namely, that while the musicianship is impressive, there isn't any newness to it. So much of Void sounds the same onto itself—not to mention quite similar to countless other artists in the field—that the tracks have almost no individuality. Like so much progressive metal, fans will listen toVoid and think "okay, these guys can play, but so what? Why are they special?" Unfortunately, they aren't, and their humility isn't enough to warrant attention.

Track Listing
01 Cluster (6.18)
02 Hot Wine (6.09)
03 Slapdash Dance (6.19)
04 Alexa In The Cage - vocal version (5.45)
05 Into The Void (5.45)
06 Who's Bisex? (5.16)
07 Return To Kolkata (7.53)
08 Spin The Wheel (5.09)
09 Alexa In The Cage - instrumental version (5.46)

Added: April 28th 2011
Reviewer: Jordan Blum
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2984
Language: english

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