Review Summary: A promising start for a band that got immensely better with age.
There are many bands out there that are incredibly talented, but never get discovered or signed by a record company. Rishloo is one of those bands and it's a true crime. It takes a certain amount of talent and instrumental skill to tackle a genre like progressive and it's quite impressive they managed to get mostly everything right in their debut. While the band has said that Tool is not a direct influence, there is still an essence of a Tool influence because Andrew sounds very similar to Maynard James Keenan and certain instrumental arrangements like the tail end of "Seven Rings Left" sound like Tool. However, Rishloo manages to remain their own band and they stick out like a sore thumb in the progressive scene despite some flawed production and unsatisfactory vocals at key moments (these moments don't occur often).
Rishloo's vocalist Andrew Mailloux is surprisingly versatile, powerful, and talented with a stunning vocal range. He is able to hit notes that most vocalists could only dream of hitting. Examples of this would be "Narcissist Code" and "Romance Of A Dead Kingdom." On "Narcissist Code" it starts out with a very dreamy guitar riff and his very quiet vocals come in. Soon it climaxes into an angry outburst that is delivered with just the right amount of angst and aggression with Andrew hitting every note with surprising ease. "Romance Of A Dead Kingdom" has a similar outburst, but it is followed by Andrew wailing which has never suited has voice. Though the song as a whole is quite impressive and the lyrics are equally as impressive.
The band's lyrics have always been thought-provoking, metaphorical, and engrossing. In their first entry into their discography that happen to be a tad more accessible. Andrew sings about a various array of topics, but nothing is set in stone. Every song is open to your own interpretation because they can be about multiple topics. "Harlequin" is the most mesmerizing song lyrically and musically because of it's mysterious tone. The lyrics are so complex that you may think you figured out what the meaning is, but then it changes again. The song's middle section overstays it welcome and then picks up again at about the five minute mark. The even more masterful "Seven Rings Left" contains Andrew singing about what appears to be the seven deadly sins. It's an amazing song despite some lackluster production when the guitar gets a little heavier. It's all topped with a very Toolish final minutes.
As for the rest of the bands performance, they give it their all. The drumming on "Romance Of A Dead Kingdom" really showcases excellent drum rolls and the drumming intro in "The Water Is Fine" is spectacular. The vocals and guitar are the major driving force on the album, but perhaps the driving force is too big. The bass is great for what it is, but it never really gets a chance to shine as much as the rest of the band. Thankfully this is improved immensely on their later records. It's also welcome that David's guitar playing is well done.
Rishloo possesses an incredible amount of talent for a band that was so young at the time. It serves as an extremely promising start for a band that only got better with age. Progressive takes a lot of skill to play and Rishloo tackled it extremely well for a debut album. From here on out they only get better, but it's a shame Andrew left the band. All we could do now is look forward to their new project known as The Ghost Apparatus and it sounds extremely promising. Keep it up guys!
-Powerful, versatile vocals
-Vocals are less than perfect at key points
-Production could be better
-Vocals, guitar, and drums overshadow the bass