by tiesthatbind USER (44 Reviews)
March 20th, 2010 | 5 replies

Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Ra's live album is a solid effort, but only worth your time if you're already a fan.

The Tale of Ra: Part 3

Following their first two albums, Ra decided to release a live album. Raw wasn’t a high-profile release; the band actually offered it for free on their website. It includes a compilation of songs from their first two albums, From One and Duality.

Ra lives and dies by their front man, and luckily Sahaj’s vocals are effective here. Not quite to the level of the studio recording, but he delivers it quite well for a live setting, mostly hitting the high notes with ease, and showing off his impressive range. Sahaj in general does a good job at interacting with the crowd, getting them involved in singing along and constantly expressing his gratitude for them coming out, although at times his constant swearing does seem very childish. However, his enthusiasm does make the show exciting; it’s hard to imagine any fan who would’ve been bored at this show.

The rest of the band’s performance here is excellent; the guitar sounds exactly the same as on record without any issues with being mixed too quiet or too loud. Occasionally there is actually an improvement over the original song, such as the harmonizing guitars in the bridge of Tell Me, and the extra wah in the bridge of Do You Call My Name.

Fallen Angels is the predictable opener, being the lead single from Duality, and the band does a good job of building excitement with the extended intro. The captivating From One closer, Sky, is done justice, with Sahaj delivering some of his best vocals here, particularly in the bombastic second verse. As an added bonus, we get to hear the final solo in full without it fading out. Superman is almost better than the recording. Sahaj hits the notes perfectly here. Here the song stays acoustic until the second verse, which actually could have worked for the original. Ra’s biggest hit, Do You Call My Name, isn’t amazing here, but it is at least performed well enough to get the crowd moving and is predictably the song that Sahaj tries to get the crowd singing along to the most.

Unfortunately there are a few times where the live version can’t match the recording. Violator is a pretty sloppy performance by Sahaj; his vocals are off here, and he can’t deliver the song with half the power that appears on record. The final song on the setlist, Skorn, loses the weird charm that it had on the album, and Sahaj’s random and very odd cover of Ludacris in the middle of the song doesn’t help it.

The setlist is mostly fairly well selected, but it’s not perfect. The biggest disappointment here is that the setlist fails to include Ra’s cover of Every Little Thing She Does is Magic, which makes no sense at all given that this was a single and one of the songs that many people would identify with the band, not to mention one of their best songs. Since they had only released two albums at this point, its exclusion here is mind-boggling. On My Side is missed here as well, this is easily one of the best songs the band has done. It would have been nice to include in the latter half of the setlist, after Superman no more ballads are performed.

The best thing about the album is that it contains a new studio recording, Don’t Turn Away. It was the new single at the time, and released as a teaser for their next studio album. It combines the best elements of Ra’s first 2 albums into one track, being simultaneously heavy and melodic.

Overall, Raw may be worth hearing for those who enjoyed Ra’s first two albums, especially considering it’s free, but it’s more for die-hard fans than anybody else. It’s well-done, especially for a low-budget live album, but it’s forgettable, especially when placed up against the studio recordings. Still, a solid effort, and Don’t Turn Away is at least worth hearing even if the live album doesn’t suit your fancy.

To Be Continued…

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Comments:Add a Comment 
March 20th 2010


Did a quick write-up for this so that I could include this in my Ra discography review. The Black Sun review will be finished shortly.

March 20th 2010


I haven't heard any albums by this band, so the live album probably wouldn't interest me. Nevertheless, a well-written review.

Digging: Brand New - Science Fiction

March 20th 2010


Thanks, yeah this is just part of the discog review, I know most won't care.

March 20th 2010


Album Rating: 4.5

"Raw wasn’t a high-profile release"

FYI, it was originally released by Cement Shoe Records but they kicked Ra off the record company as soon as it was released. It isn't available anymore 'cause the record company went bankrupt.

Nice review. Btw, did you hear the record-breaking note in Skorn?

March 20th 2010


Ok, I guess you're right, I may try to fix that at some point. Yes, I heard the record-breaking note, that was pretty awesome.

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