Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Rhythm Of Mars “Window of Destiny”

Country: USA
Sub Genre: Instrumental, Progressive Rock, New Age, Neo-Classical
Release dateDecember 11, 2013
  1. Houdini (3:45) 
  2. Love Spell (4:30)
  3. Pleiadian (3:59)
  4. Labyrinth (3:46)
  5. Window of Destiny (5:01)
  6. La Noche (3:37)
  7. Masquerade (4:56)
  8. Evolve (2:40)
Patti Unruh – Keyboards
Aaron Straub – Guitars
Todd Frost – Drums
David Bayles - Bass on "Labyrinth"
Mike Bailey - Drums on "Labyrinth", Percussion & Engineering on "Pleiadian"
Bryan Burkhart - Hand Drums & Engineering on "Masquerade"
Paul Humphreys - Drums on "Houdini"
John Burnett - Bass on "Houdini"
Chris Moore - Bass & Engineering on "Window Of Destiny"

Rhythm Of Mars is a Progressive Rock, New Age & Neo-Classical band hailing from Fayetteville (Arkansas, USA). Its third album - “Window of Destiny” - surprised me with some wonderful and melodic Progressive Music that is rare today, being very reminiscent of early days of Prog, when musicians searched for enchanting melodies and magical harmonies that could be combined in nice-sounding arrangements that would reach the listener’s soul and feelings. As I prepared this text, I spent pleasant moments at Rhythm Of Mars’ website, not willing to leave, listening to their wonderful music – and I advice everybody to do the same. For my (second) surprise, the photo that the band posted on their site showed a poster of “Opeth” hanging on the wall behind them! Well, if something can be said about Rhythm of Mars, is that their music is totally “anti-Opeth”: it is light, delicate, sensitive, diaphanous, moving, elevating, inspiring, and relaxing, without being soporiferous or pretentiously pompous. The guitar is the main solo instrument, being generally supported by a classical layer of keyboards (pianos and New Age-sounding synths, more discretely and elegantly played than bombastically), and some acoustic guitar passages and soft drumming. The bass is also soft, played by different bassists, always melodically. Two pieces are basically guitar-driven: the opening track “Houdini” (3:45) – which is also the album’s heaviest - comes with the strength of a mild Neo-Classical Rock blended with Space-Rock chords, all supported by joyful pianos that have the mood of the 50’s Rock; yet, the title track “Window of Destiny” (5:01) is a placid ballad on which Straub shows his emotional side when playing the instrument, alternating modern guitar-playing styles (like “Satriani”, “Bonamassa”) with old-school weeping-guitar style (“Moore”, “Beck”) – achieving magnificent results. A couple of tracks are more keyboard-oriented, having emphasis on Unruh’s pianos. Such are “Pleiadian” (3:59), that blends soft Symphonic-Prog classical piano and delicate New-Age flutes in Pastoral soundscapes immersed in Medieval choirs; and “La Noche” (3:37), a Chopin-inspired Nocturne accompanied by the organ. A number of pieces lean to the New-Age with World Music influence, and have arrangements that bring to mind names like “Yanni”, “Vollenweider”, “Paco de Lucia”, “Santana”, “Mike Oldfield”, and “Gordon Giltrap”. The eerie “Love Spell” (4:30) follows the Hindu trend, having psychedelic sounds, great progressive soaring bass, and soulful guitar solo; “Labyrinth” (3:46) is a musical maze that leaps from India to fall down into the joyful North-American Country & Folk, bringing frantic and lively acoustic guitars, violins, and Straub going wild on his final guitar solo; finally “Masquerade” (4:56) is mysterious and seductive, driven by Latin moods that unroll underneath a mattress of Spanish acoustic guitars (as a mix of “Paco de Lucia”, “Santana”, and “Gordon Giltrap”). The last track is “Evolve” (2:40) – which is beautiful and relaxing, being driven by the free-flowing dialogue between acoustic guitars and a soaring electric guitar. Rhythm Of Mars is really an amazing band to be discovered, for it teaches us a lesson about the universal and spiritual quality of Music: it does not need to be complex to be enjoyed, just beautiful and heart-touching. Rhythm Of Mars is highly recommendable for lovers of soft Progressive Rock blended with New-Age & World Music. (Marcelo Trotta at progressiverockbr.com)


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