Ray, Rick - The Great Antagonist

Year of Release: 1999
Label: Neurosis Records
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 70:27:00

An introduction to Rick Ray isn't necessary, as you can plainly see we've received and reviewed several of his albums - so I'll highlight a few things here on The Great Antagonist. Most of the best tracks are instrumentals, and on this album it is no exception, as "Guiarsenic" is quite good. The exception to that rule is "Open Your Eyes." Ray isn't a great vocalist, but the music here, especially the guitar solo is engaging. It is dark and atmospheric, with arching guitar notes (at least I think it's the guitar). It should be noted that Ray plays all the instruments here, as on nearly all his releases - and plays them all quite well. The seemless way all the parts are put together is to be commended and noted. That he also produces and mixes all his own work adds to the cohesiveness, but it also means that there probably isn't a critical voice involved.

Ray seems to be influenced somewhat by the Beatles, while often it is Lennon, sometimes it is George Harrison. That latter observation is apparent on the title track, which Ray notes was "inspired by the Book of Revelation, Chapter Thirteen." And thematically harks back to themes in Cast Into Our Dimension, with it's talk of utopia (the spoken word soundbite). Yet it is "A Different Time" that makes direct references to John Lennon, though not musically, as it details the day Lennon was killed. It doesn't have the same kind of resonance that Don McLean's "American Pie" does, and it is only the topic that distinguishes it from much of Ray's material. Come December 2000, twenty years will have passed since that event.

What is unique about this release is that clarinetist Rick Schultz is not featured. While Schultz' playing hasn't been bad, its use in the context of Ray music has often seemed out-of-place. Its absence here gives The Great Antagonist as smoother, more solid feel.

"Make No Sense" is dense, leaving no breathing room. "Spinning Faster" starts out as if it's going to be a slow-grind rocker a la Van Halen, if somewhat muted, but it never quite gets there -and lyrically it follows the same Ray pattern of rhyming couplets.

"Don't Be Another Fool" is an energetic tune, and one of the better ones here, as it is quite different than anything he's done to date.

As might be expected with a track entitled "Fweep F'Nork" - this is some very, very strange wierdness with "narration" that sounds as if it were reversed. And the hidden track "14" juxtaposes two audio streams - a news report and what could be a movie soundtrack (or TV show).

This is the stronger of the Ray releases, and comes recommended.

Inside The Mind (3:50) / Guitarsenic (5:43) / Open Your Eyes (4:52) / The Antagonist (6:54) / Makes No Sense (7:05) / Spinning Faster (4:10) / A Sense of Human (1:06) / A Different Time (6:42) / Guitargonaut (4:37) / Don't Be Another Fool (5:21) / Anything At All (3:59) / American Highways (5:32) / Fweep F'Nork (6:18) / 14 (3:23) / 15 (0:55)

Rick Ray - all instruments

Abnormal Road (1999)
Balance Of Power (1999)
The Great Antagonist (1999)
Clone Man (1999)
Atomic Soldiers (1999)
Neurotic Tendencies (1999)
You People (1999)
Looking Into the Past (1999)
The Key To The Bottomless Pit (1999)
Cast Into Our Dimension (2000)
Living In An Insane World (2000)
Mind Control, Inc. (2000)
Guitarsenal (2000)
Manipulated DNA (2001)
Insanity Flies (2001)
Existing Passages (2002)
The Guitarsonist (2002)
Rick Ray Band - Into The Hands Of Sinners (2003)
Rick Ray Band - Out Of The Mist Of Obscurity (2003)
Rick Ray Band - Night Of The Living Dedicated (2004)
Chainsaw Manicure (2005)
Rick Ray Band - Temporary World (2005)
Rick Ray Band - Nothing To Lose (2007)
Rick Ray Band - Violence Marred By Peace (2008)
Rick Ray Band - The Setlist (2009)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: February 1st 2000
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website: www.rickray.net
Hits: 983
Language: english


[ Back to Reviews Index | Post Comment ]