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Rodler / Hultberg: RH Factor

Comprised of the two Rodler brothers (Chris on guitars and keyboards) and Brett on percussives) and Kevin Hultberg on bass and vocals, these boys have been playing for many years. Although many of the songs on this album originally saw the light of day back in the early 90's, they have undergone the usual studio jiggery pokery to bring the sound into the next millennium. Possessing an amazing ability to construct some intricately conceived material, the band has also managed to deliver the goods with a perfect blend of unity between the players without anyone being lost in the mix. The album is choc-a-bloc full of odd time signatures, some stellar musicianship, plenty of great vocal arrangements but above all, the feeling that there are many more people contributing to the overall sound.

Kevin Hultberg's contribution to the material is more than evident as his voice is suitably powerful and impressive and gives each song sufficient drive and direction. This is in stark contrast to many progressive bands that lose some credibility due to inferior vocals. Kevin often adds 2 and 3 part harmonies to the songs best suited for such inclusion and results in a sound reminiscent of John Wetton, Greg Lake or possibly Graham Bonnett.

Influences are many and varied, although there is some definite acknowledgement towards Rush, Dream Theatre, Saga and Yes while those with a penchant for informal trivia will have observed that the name, Rodler is synonymous with the band Leger De Main who formed in 1989.

Featuring some great slap bass from Kevin, things get into top gear pretty quickly with one of the highlights of the album, "Behold The Blue Sky" demonstrating how intricate arrangements can be made to sound all too easy. "No Sale's Final" has a great funky groove that enjoys the embellishment of some crisp drumming and a good riff throughout with plenty of twists and turns. With no vocals, it is the shortest track on the album. Things move along at a pretty decent pace throughout most of the album but by the end of proceedings, there will be some who might feel that something is missing. While the playing and singing is technically excellent in almost every department, ultimately, it all boils down to a lack of memorable songs that will make this offering fail to stand out from the crowd. Sure, there is some great playing but not enough to really excite the senses beyond what a lot of other more well established bands have already released. This is clearly a case of the sum of the parts being greater than the whole.

Added: December 9th 2003
Reviewer: Greg Cummins
Score:
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