I have been meaning to do this CD for a long time. Ra is undoubtedly, one of the best unsung bands in mainstream music today. Even then, I'm not sure they are quite as 'mainstream' as alot of other bands, because mentioning these guys does not always ellict a response of "Oh yeah, I know them..."
Sahaj Ticotin - Vocals, Guitars
Ben Carrol - Guitars
Sean Cocoran - Bass
Skoota Warner - Drums
Do You Call My Name
A high energy opener, and their first single...the radio version gets butchered, because the real deal opens up with a very Egyptian sounding set of melodies, complete with tabla and sitar-like sounds. Main riff rips it wide open at :40 in...The dual guitars make it really huge sounding, I love it. Bassline is thick and audible. They keep true to a verse-prechorus-chorus structure, twice, until they go into a really cool bridge, which has a very nice bassline to go along with it...and flange. These guys love flange, as you will see. They rip back into their first riff, with a few modifications in the second guitar line. Repeat the chorus a few times to end this one, a very good number.
Opens with a nice clean melody, followed by distorted second guitar and the rest of the band coming in. First part of the verse is driven by bass and drums, and I love the bassline here, then guitars come back in...chorus sees the clean/flanged melody on top of the rest of the band, Sahaj's singing is quite powerful in the chorus. Repeat the cycle of verse/chorus, but the guitars get a little more to do in this verse. Chorus comes up, and it's much darker sounding than the rest of the song...sounds like an evelope filter is being used on the bass, which is odd to say the least, but it works nicely. Guitars come back in with the dark riffage before going into another prechorus/chorus...Sahaj has a habit of singing his choruses a little much before ending...serious flange on the last riff here before a single note tremolo and we end.
Fallen Rock Zone
One of their darkest songs, written about sick guys who prey on younger girls...one of their best...opens with police sirens and some clean dark melody on the low B string...main riff is full of distortion, it's got that slow pulse headbang feel to it. Main riff has alot of open B going on, but mixed in with some weird pan/phase effect or something, I'm not quite sure what it is...chorus involves a riff similar to the opening one, but mixed up with some not-quite bends...repeat verse/chorus, then we get a longer and interesting bridge, which sounds alot like the intro...Sahaj whispers in the background, encouraging people to stop guys who prey on women...then the bridge continues, heavy, with some second guitar work...sounds like it could be Whammy but I dunno...then we get a second bridge with a solo...it's not a shredfest by any means, it's not really that fast, but it's very cool sounding, I like it...Sahaj repeats his bad habit of singing too much chorus before ending.
Opens with Sahaj singing before ripping into the main verse, it's heavy, but more upbeat than FRZ...go into clean melody with some flange...they are addicted to flange, I swear...second guitar comes in with some harmonics in the second part of the verse...chorus has the same intro riffage, but it fits very well with his singing...repeat verse/chorus...bridge comes up, and Skoota gets a bit of a workout...not a solo per se, but he's doing more than the guitars and bass are doing....too much chorus at the end, again...
On My Side
Very subdued here at first, clean melody (no flange!) and a nice bassline...verse sung in two parts, the melody changes up a bit with the second part, but it's still subdued...chorus brings in the distortion, but even then, it's still slow and subdued, but powerful at the same time....drums come in with some flange of their own...then another verse/chorus cycle, sounds like they added in some acoustic guitar on this verse...Bridge comes up, mixes acoustic guitar with distorted...this is a song where I think you can really see the Sting influence in Sahaj's singing, it's very powerful, and reminds me of Sting in "Roxanne" or something....another chorus, but with a new second guitar line over it all, it's effected, but I don't know what effect...flange again" More chorus, then everyone fades out except one clean guitar...very nice ending...
Much faster and darker than before...opens with fast drums and tabla, interspersed with distorted guitars, I love it. Artificial harmonic hit, then they break into the main riff, which, sadly, slows down a bit, but it's not bad at all. Clean guitar melody, with flange and a pan effect it sounds like...second guitar hits distorted chords along with the bass...full distortion comes back for the second part of the verse...chorus sees more of the tabla percussion being used...Sahaj does a hell of a job singing here, very strong, very powerful in his voice....repeat that all-too-familiar cycle, except the chorus is modified a bit in the guitars, and it seems extended, actually, but it might just be me...bridge comes up, with more of that effected guitar over the distortion...then everything cuts out and just Sahaj and acoustic guitar come in...then the tabla comes back in, followed by the rest of the band, for another powerful chorus, which turns into 3, followed by a fade out of the tabla percussion.
Opens up with Morello-Like guitar, tremolo effect going, and something else, I dunno...a second guitar clean melody over that, with subdued but effective bass and drums...fade in with distortion, and the chorus comes in, which is very dark sounding, but I love it...then again, the entire song is kind of meloncholy, which is great...bass and drums pick up in the second verse, getting a bit more to do...bridge comes up but it's really short, and doesn't add much to this song...another 2 or three choruses, and then they go back to the verse music for an outro...but modified, as they fade out.
Opens up a decidedly heavier note than the last song, with a second guitar line that is eerie sounding as they rip into the main riff...this reminds me of something Dream Theater might do...well, a little
. Sahaj's singing actually takes a back seat to the instruments in the verse, something that's not been seen yet...chorus is really short, and kind of chopped up, but it's not bad...repeat of the cycle...bridge comes up...some weird effected sound in the background, I don't think it's guitar, but you never know...lots of sustained chords in this, then a second bridge goes on, short, before another chorus...then a lead line picks up in the last chorus...it's kind of hard to hear, but it's there...flange picks up, and bleeds right into...
Intro riff is quite heavy and powerful, but verse riff subdues itself alot...drums and a great bassline carry it with clean guitar behind it all, and the occasional distorted guitar B...prechorus brings the distortion back in full time, chorus is like the intro riff, and Sahaj's singing soars above it all, very nice...abrupt cutoff before going back into another verse...I love this bassline...it's not that hard, but it's great to hear the bass in the forefront, at least for me :D
...Another prechorus/chorus section, followed by a bridge w/ palm muted distortion, and a clean melody over it...second part of the bridge sees a return to that large, soaring feel, followed by a huge chorus...or three...the outro sees more of the main riff, with a second guitar line behind it, but an abrupt stop leads us to...
Acoustic guitar melody, and cymbal rolls to start...bass comes in...ahh, she's reading a "Dear John" letter...kicks into the main part with low, clean, melody, which is quickly followed by kicking into the distortion...very heavy, for them at least...then the verse comes in, clean guitar takes over, but only briefly, as the distortion is kicked back in...very odd song structure, with a bunch of changes...shining moment is the sitar/simulated solo toward the end...very nice, very dark.
Walking and Thinking
Opens with just Sahaj and acoustic guitar...a second guitar comes in, I think it's acoustic too...this is essentially an acoustic track, there are no drums in it at all, and if there is any bass it's hard to hear...you only get a little distortion in the end, in a chord, and some harmonics which are very nice...very nice way to calm down after Skorn...
Opens with a palm muted riff I happen to like a bit, with just Sahaj singing at first, before drums (well, the ride cymbal) and bass come in, with a second, clean guitar melody behind it...acoustic guitar comes in behind that, with distorted chords...stop, then rip into a chorus, with the palm muted riff being unmuted...there is a really short, verse, almost a prechorus, before continuing on with chorus, but the acoustic guitar returns...bridge comes up, heavy...then Sahaj whispers "One in the same" before ripping into a solo...again, not a shredfest or anything, but it's very fitting, and very powerful...not quite a minute long too...more chorus (what'd you expect" :p) but then we get another guitar solo at about 4:20 or so...not as long as the first one, but still very good, and we fade out...
Ok, I need to keep this brief, as I've shortened this dam
n thing 5 times to get it to fit. These guys have been overlooked and underrated by alot of people, and I recommend their CD to anyone looking to spice up their collection with something different...they sound nothing like any other mainstream rock/metal/numetal band out there that I have heard, so pick it up, and I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.
Final Rating: 7.5/10 (trying to get more people to use the 10 point scale..)