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Relocater: Relocator

Wow! That was my initial reaction upon hearing Relocator's debut album for the first time. This is a great album that totally caught me by surprise as so much of the great music being produced today seems to do. Relocator are a German band that formed in 2004 although only one member is originally from that country. They include Stefan Artwin (guitars, programming), Michael Pruchnicki (bass, fretless bass), Frank Tinge (drums, percussion), Bartek Strycharski (electric violin) and special guest Derek Sherinian (keyboards).

The band plays instrumental progressive metal with a heavy emphasis on fusion injecting a jazzy nuance throughout the album. The music is complex with all band members contributing to the greater whole and getting their chance to reveal their musical muscle. Guitarist Stefen Artwin gives a dominant performance as his fusionesque lead work and dynamic rhythms are found throughout the disc. His playing is both intense and subtle adding a tremendous atmosphere to the CD. The rhythm section of Pruchnicki and Tinge also deserve mention as they hold it all together and put forth a scintillating presentation of tricky time signatures and tempo changes and while this is complicated stuff the music never feels forced and always flows beautifully connecting the diverse musical themes seamlessly. The band's songs are full of stops and starts that really force the listeners attention. Giving the music some added atmosphere is the electric violin of Strycharski. His playing adds texture and just a little improvisation to ensure the music does not come across as too calculated. That leaves us with guest musician Derek Sherinian. The former keyboardist for Dream Theater indeed leaves his mark. While some guest musicians are relegated to only one or two solos, Sherinian plays masterfully throughout the album. His playing can be dramatic or subtle, depending on the song's requirements and the band wisely use his playing to develop musical themes and adding darker and lighter tones throughout.

Some of my favourite tracks include "13 Reasons" where Sherinian's keys are a highlight as heavy chords spiral downwards and crash before settling into a progressive metal groove and the intense prog metal fusion of "The Alchemist" beginning with just bass guitar before jazzy guitar stylings and rapid flowing synth lines take hold. Complex drum patterns, trippy violin with a Middle Eastern edge and great bass work complete the picture.

Just like the songs, production quality is excellent and the band's sound is very clean as all the instruments are given equal billing and none are buried in the mix. Add to that a pretty nice booklet design that includes some intriguing paintings attached to each song and you have a superb musical package overall.

This is one of the more tasteful progressive metal/fusion albums I have heard in a long while and will rank very high in my year end top ten which is no small feat considering this is an all instrumental release. Essential listening for fans of Dream Theater, LTE, Planet X and related bands. Highly recommended!

Track Listing:
1. Red Vibes (6:13)
2. Biosphere (8:00)
3. Relocator (5:24)
4. Proxima (6:16)
5. Aavishkar (10:30)
6. 13 Reasons (6:31)
7. Urban Blue (6:33)
8. The Alchemist (11:32)

Added: September 8th 2010
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's Official Site
Hits: 1852
Language: english

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