Review Summary: Fans of hard rock/nu-metal rejoice!
Ra’s fourth album is both surprising and unsurprising in its direction. On one hand it harkens back to the heavier, darker days of From One
, but on the other hand it’s plentiful with easy-on-the-ears radio tunes. It’s somewhat of a mixed bag like Duality
, but heck, it’s all good music. As is Ra tradition, expect catchy tunes with gorgeous melodies, a healthy dose of spankin’ guitars, and one of the best vocalists in the hard rock/nu-metal genre. Critical Mass
lives true to its name, and is the pinnacle in its genre, with a seamless combination of nu-metal angst/aggression and accessibility. You’ll find plenty of variation in this album, yet it feels incredibly balanced, combining old and new as they’re meant to be together. Critical Mass
is classic Ra through and through, and that is indeed a good thing.
Using an arsenal of Middle Eastern instruments, Ra brings to mind bands like Myrath and The Tea Party (both fantastic bands), but manages to have their own voice. Expect loads of songs in the style of their most popular and fantastic song ‘Do You Call My Name’, highlights being ‘Brutiful’, ‘It’s All Over Now’, ‘Running Blind’, and ‘The Voice Inside My Head’. While Arabic melodies have always been a standout feature of the band, Ra goes the extra mile this time to remind us that they’re the ancient Egyptian god in music form; no exaggeration, this album rules after all. The voice of Sahaj Ticotin, the lead singer, also makes Critical Mass
a unique and stunning affair - just check out ‘It’s All Over Now’, which includes one of his best vocal performances since ‘Violator’ (he even beatboxes in the song, I shit you not). It’s sufficient to say that the album is quite creative.
It only takes a couple of listens, and before you know it you’ll be blasting this in the car, and singing along ‘cause you have all the lyrics memorized. It is definitely Ra’s easiest album to get into, but make no mistake, this album will rock your face off. Included in the album are some of Ra’s most aggressive songs. While Black Sun
was fairly relaxed, Critical Mass
simply explodes, and it doesn’t stop exploding until the end of the album. Fans of Ra and hard rock/nu-metal rejoice, but for everyone else Critical Mass
is still incredibly fun, and goes in the history books as one of Ra’s best albums.