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Planet Thirteen: Third from the Right

Planet Thirteen is the duo of Ray Zarate (vocals/keyboards) and Lance Benedict (all guitars/drums), who hail from Florida, and Third From the Right is their third release. A quick glimpse at the CD packaging gives the impression of professionalism, and the music contained here only confirms that initial opinion. The band plays a dark style of progressive metal, and influences from Rush, Fates Warning, Queensryche, Dream Theater, and bits of Black Sabbath can be heard in their music. With only six songs on the CD, and three of them exceeding 14-minutes in length, the listener can expect epic prog rock here.

The first two cuts here are big lengthy pieces, the better being "The Eyes of Deception", a moody number with outstanding guitar work from Benedict, and great dynamics created by Zarate's vocals. Fans of melodic prog rock will dig the atmospheric keyboard laden cover of "Superstar", a huge hit for The Carpenters, and there's no shortage of swagger and bombast on the metallic "The Quest", a song very reminiscent of Queensryche. The closing epic "Zero" is a symphonic prog metal opus with sweeping keyboards and big guitar sounds, as well as powerful vocals from Zarate. If the sounds of Dream Theater, Pain of Salvation, or Symphony X turn you on, this tune will be for you.

This is a very solid and commendable effort from this progressive duo, who really seem to have a knack for creating dark, epic progressive rock with plenty of metal power to it. They should be a band to look out for in the future, and I'm wondering if they have any intent to expand on the line-up and take this project out on the road any time soon.

Track Listing
1) Darker Side of You
2) Eyes of Deception
3) Superstar
4) The Quest
5) Rain
6) Zero

Added: May 27th 2007
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Planet Thirteen Website
Hits: 3246
Language: english

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Planet Thirteen: Third from the Right
Posted by Murat Batmaz, SoT Staff Writer on 2007-05-27 07:19:27
My Score:

Planet 13 is a two-man band, led by Lance Benedict on guitars and drums, and Ray Zarate on vocals and keyboards. Third from the Right is their third album, and contains six tracks three of which eclipse the 15-minute mark. They cite bands like Rush, Black Sabbath, Queensryche, Dream Theater, and Fates Warning as influences, but the most recognizable ingredient in their music seems to be a heavier Rush combined with the groovy 70's riffery of Sabbath.

"Darker Side of You" begins with a heavy guitar attack that sets the tone of the piece, but the duo also have a knack for creating dark acoustic passages, which could be found on the entire album. After blazing guitar and keyboard runs, the music often slows down for acoustic guitars, shattering cymbals a la some old-school doom bands, and then picks up pace, usually with sweeping guitar playing. Traces of Iron Maiden's galloping riffery pop in and out of their songs, but are kept to a minimum. "Eyes of Deception" seems like a more brooding cut, particularly in the way the guitars kick it off. It then turns into a fiercely rocking cut and an extended lead guitar solo, charged with atmospheric colourings. The cover song "Superstar" is certainly an interesting experiment; the way the strings are arranged and the piano is played makes more for a progressive song than The Carpenters' original piece. The bluesy guitar textures, emotive vocals, and tight instrumentation culminate in interesting songwriting that sits in well with the rest of the songs.

The production is alright, but it would be more interesting if the band enlisted a couple of extra musicians in order to broaden their horizons. Still a sold effort and worth checking out.

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