(All Album Reviews by Windhawk)
(originally written for www.prog4you.com)
Ricochet is a German prog metal band, and Zarah is their second release in 10 years, the first being Among The Elements from 1996.
As prog metal is a somewhat loose definition of musical style, a more detailed description is obviously needed to get an idea of the type of music on offer here. And on this album, the soundscapes most often seems to be somewhere in between old Marillion and classic Dream Theater. Sometimes you'll hear parts of songs that sounds distinctly like old Marillion, while at other times parts of songs will be eerily similar to Dream Theater as they sounded on Images and Words.
But most of the time the sound is somewhere in the middle of those opposites; but with a metallic edge to the songs being a common factor often enough for the music to be classified as prog metal. The keyboard is used to good effect, most times enhancing the moods in the soundscapes, at times being the leading instrument as well.
The band plays well and sound good and tight, you get the impression that these guys are seasoned players; good at cooperating and making each other sound good. The vocals are of decent quality as well, the vocalist uses the voice he has very effectively and efficient.
When it comes to the album in question here, my opinion is that this is a very competent release. All tracks have good drive and enough elements to sound interesting. Although the sound at times is similar to more well known bands, most of the time Ricochet have managed to sound more like themselves than like anyone else.
Moodwise, the songs on offer are all dark. Melancholy, pain and aggression is the name of the game. The keyboard is sad sounding, melancholy or cold, the guitars are played to project emotions from mellow melancholy to gritty pain, perseverance and depression. Emotions all across the spectre of unhappiness.
All of the songs here are well made as well. It's easy to drift into the music and let time fly by. The only slight disappointment was "Final Curtain", where the metal part finishing the song didn't really fit in, in my point of view.
Fans of prog metal in general should quite clearly check this release out; as well as proggers who do like listening to songs regarding the darker sides of life.
Recommended listening: “Teartown”, “Silent Retriever”, “The Red Line.”
Reviewer: Olav Björnsen