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prog rock, jazz fusion, jazz rock, jazz, pysch/trance, space, electronic, ambient, essentially eclectic excellence

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Riot Act: Maniacal Disastrophe Tour (CD 57:07), Neurosis Record, 2000 Neurosis Records 2557 Madison Ave. Painesville, OH 44077 (440) 350-9477 E-mail: hobbelshnimp@hotmail.com Cyberhome: http://communities.msn.com/GuitaristRickRay I really wanted to like Riot Act... any band that thanks the people that stole their equipment from them in the liner notes is OK with me. They even are photographed hanging out by a chain-link fence on the back cover - how much more "rock and roll" can you get? Their latest release Maniacal Disastrophe Tour (the NAME's even cool!), contains music that matches the attitudes conveyed by the cover - straight up hard rock and roll complete with flashy guitar pyrotechnics and growly vocals. Unfortunately, the release suffers from low production values that keeps the music from really ever hitting full stride - and that's a shame because there's some really nice guitar playing on this CD that is all but muffled by the poor recording levels. While Rick Ray's guitar playing is fine, the other members of the band don't seem to be in the same musical league as Ray. Ambrose's bass playing is pretty standard, and the John Cek's drumming never sounds quite right (although I think this may be more due to the production of the CD than any lack of talent). The vocals and lyrics on Maniacal Disastrophe Tour are not very good either; Ray's strong point seems to lie more in his instrumental prowess and not in his vocal talents. There are some definite nice spots on the CD - some excellent guitar solos crop up towards the end of the CD and the track "A Time in Space," is a pretty darn solid rock and roll song. Also, the song "One More Line" is sort of a "21st Century Schizoid Man" on acid - and I mean that in a good way. However, given the poor production values it's hard to determine whether the rest of the CD would've sounded any better with more professional mixing. For all I know, if Alan Parsons was stuck behind the mixing board Riot Act could come out sounding like Led Zeppelin - but on this release they simply never get that chance. In my opinion, Riot Act should have worked a little longer on the production end of things before releasing this CD - I think that some of the emotions that these songs were meant to convey didn't make the transition from the studio sessions to the CD. Rick Ray is a very good guitarist, and I would be interested to hear what either he or his band could do if he hired another vocalist and farmed out some of the production duties. Unfortunately for Riot Act, Maniacal Diastrophe Tour is too rough around the edges quality-wise to be considered a top-level rock and roll release. - Michael Askounes CREDITS: Rick Ray: Guitar, Guitar Synth, Vocals Jack Ambrose: Bass, Vocals John Cek: Drums, Vocals TRACKLIST: 1. Red Tape (Ray) 3:08 2. She Could Win An Award (Ray, Ambrose) 3:38 3. Bonnie The Clyde (Ray, Ambrose) 3:14 4. Thinking About You (Ray, F. Chesnes) 5:50 5. The K.G.B. is After Me (Ray) 3:17 6. Just a Boy (Ray) 4:31 7. Giver of Life (Jay, Ambrose) 5:33 8. Good to be Here (Ray) 3:22 9. They're Only Words (Ray) 5:17 10. One More Line (Ray) 3:53 11. Dial Nine (Ray) 3:37 12. A Time in Space (Ray, Cek) 4:26 13. State of Decay (Ray) 5:21 14. Untitled "Secret" Track 2:00


Riot Act: Approach with Extreme Caution(CD, 62:01); Neurosis Records, 2000 (see above for contact info) 10 words or less: Low budget, 3 piece AOR style Rock Elaboration: I don't know what else to say... there are changes in tempo within the compositions but this is not ProgRock by anyone's definition. I don't like cutting down anyone's art but I can't find any reference points for this since I do not listen to this style of music. Perhaps this could be summed up as a poor man's Thin Lizzy? This just does nothing for me, I'm sorry. I will say, that when there is no one singing, (which is rare), there is some pretty good hard Rock guitar playing in there. Perhaps with a production budget, (this sounds like it was recorded in their garage), and no vocals, this would be stylistically comparable to Joe Satriani though it falls quite short of the artistic level of Satch. ~ L. Perez


Editor's note: I have had phone conversation with Rick Ray, the guitarist and lead vox for Riot Act. Rick is an extremely talented axe-man with riffs to die for. He's releasing SOLO CDs now that are impressive. Though the Riot Act CDs are flawed, Rick Ray on his own, is incredibly prolific and has the skills of Frank Marino and Robin Trower rolled into one package. His solo releases clearly show this. His vox on his solo CDs reminds me of John Lennon and his apocalyptic visions inspire. (RE: The limited edition compilation CD of Riot Act called APPROACH WITH EXTREME CAUTION -- Though it was rough around the edges in spots, the overall CD performance is strong 70s-styled rock with solid leads and vox. Only one the track where Riot Act attempts harmony vox does the off-key thing grate on one's nerve. Otherwise, I'd recommend this CD to any fans of Marino, Mahoghany Rush, Trower, or Jimi.)

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