Reindel - Mere Mortals

Year of Release: 2001
Label: Fossil Records
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 52:58:00

One of Reindel's latest releases is Mere Mortals. The Rush quotient is upped on this release, but instead of rehashing past Rush material, the brothers Jim and Tim take the hard driving sound into different realms. It's as if instead of going more commercial Rush stayed progressive. And that aside, Reindel have something of their own to say. 'Tis is quite an exciting album. "Afterthoughts" is a tour de force instrumental that closes the album ... an album that is open by the briefest of fanfares, a fanfare that sounds more like the end of something rather than the beginning. In between we get a mix of vocal tracks and instrumentals, including "Bytor's Revenge." Rush fans, or at least those that own Fly By Night, will recognize the name Bytor from that album's epic "By-Tor And The Snow Dog." Because Reindel's sound is so Rush influenced, you expect that "Bytor's Revenge" will recall the earlier track, and some ways it does. But mostly the era of Rush that is Reindel's launching point is 80s Rush, roughly from Moving Pictures through Hold Your Fire. Incidentally, vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Jim doesn't sound like Geddy Lee at all, all the Rushisms being in the music and composition alone.

As with their debut The Dominant Theme, science-fiction forms the backdrop to Jim Reindel's lyrical landscape, though Douglas Swick pens "Beware The Predator." It's Jim on guitars, bass, keyboards, vocals and percussion programming, brother Tim on drums and percussion. Mere Mortals is a strong and tight release. Their sound is big and powerful, arena-size rock in an age when arena rock is making a comeback. As you know Journey, Styx, Kansas, and Blue Oyster Cult have all released albums in the last year or so, and whisperings had a new Rush album out this year (that to my knowledge has yet to materialize), so this release seems timely and current. And, in fact it does seem timely and current, even if it harks back to a style of music that is not ruling the airwaves anymore.

I like each and every track on this album. It may not set the music world on it's ear for originality - that is, the progressive rock/hard rock world; that I mention that Reindel sound a lot like Rush is evidence of that - but song subject matter aside, it's a fun album to listen to. Jim plays some terrific guitar leads, keys are used to great effect, his bass work solid. Fortunately, Tim is one of those drummers who uses the whole kit, including bits of percussive accents that one may not notice upon first hearing, but after repeated plays suddenly emerge. When they don't remind one of Rush, their textures come in different forms. I won't go so far as to say influences, as I'm not sure that's the case. "Taku He" is a dark, grinding track that actually reminded more of something by early Threshold -- mainly the marching percussion. Jim plays some searing guitar leads here as well. "Ezekiel," which follows, begins with a playful, upbeat rhythm and evolves into a one of the many guitar workouts from Jim. Those who are into instrumental guitar rock will find plenty o' such pleasures in the four instrumentals that close the album (as elsewhere). That this release comes to use via Fossil Records should come as no surprise, as they've released more than a few tasty morsels of guitar rock. Ironically, this might mean that Reindel will reach a wider audience than via (through whom they originally distributed their first release).

I like the upbeat message of "Winds Of Change." While Jim isn't the same sort of lyricist as Peart, his sentiments are equally heartfelt, and often astute. "When the winds of change / Seem to blow you off course / Trust your heart and mind to be / Your compass and support..." he writes.

There are certain musical phrases and devices that will be immediately identifiable to Rush fans -- not the casual listener perhaps, as they aren't necessarily phrases from the radio hits, but... Well, for example the deep rumbling under-voice on "Mere Mortals" and "When the Kingdom Crumbles" will no doubt make you think of "Roll The Bones" (Roll The Bones, though it doesn't rap). Interestingly, the intro to "Mere Mortals" opens with a guitar phrase that, instead of Rush, seems to come from Boston ("Rock And Roll Band" specifically), then a bit of keyboard a la Styx ("Grand Illusion" is the track I think I'm thinking of), though the particular phrase is also very close to Rush (understandably)... but all these are merely accents, starting points,...homages if you will, as there isn't really an entire track where you can say, "Oh it's just rehashed..." whatever. And this is a very good thing.

And this is very good album. Cool stuff. Recommended.

Fanfare Intro / Mere Mortals / The Curse / Beware The Predator / Bytor's Revenge / Taku He / Ezekiel / Winds Of Change / Eclipse In Time / When The Kingdom Crumbles / To Infinity And Beyond / Forbidden Tomb / Triangular Meltdown / Afterthoughts

Jim Reindel - guitar, bass, keyboards, percussion programming
Tim Reindel - drums and percussion

The Dominant Theme (2000)
Mere Mortals (2001)
Mind Probe (2001)
Riffed To Shreds
The Christmas Rush

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: October 13th 2001
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow

Artist website:
Hits: 928
Language: english


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