[Review] Rick Massie – Eclipse

Rick Massie is a solo artist who offers a sound with very personal distinctive characters, an eclectic blend of Hard Rock, Symphonic Metal, Electronic, Black Metal and Death Metal, starting from a Progressive base between Metal and Rock. His self-produced debut album titled “Eclipse” was released on May 1, 2020 and contains 8 long-running tracks with two final suites, fielding many varied ideas, good compositional and performance technique. The first song “Eclipse” is a short intro of just over 1:30, powerful and pompous, centered on a tight Metal rhythm and a sharp guitar that guides us towards “A Moment of Truth (Uncertainty).” A soft guitar arpeggio and a warm and expressive vocal at times effected and the track kicks off on a solid and constantly changing rhythmic session with punctual rhythm changes. The guitar offers massive riffs and the layers of keyboards add an airy touch to the song, which brings out the Symphonic Metal component of Rick‘s sound. A darker and more melancholic guitar arpeggio and “Time After Time” begins, which with a sudden change turns into a more powerful and drawn track than the previous one with a more accelerated drum. The vocal is decisive and the tempo changes characterize the structure, passing from softer and more symphonic openings to electric outbursts with rapid accelerations, with the guitar master of the sound. In the central part it becomes more symphonic with orchestral layers of keyboards, to then accelerate dramatically and develop until it becomes more intricate, always with a good use of the vocal, and with a darker atmosphere. In the finale, a more experimental section intertwines with another section of Metal pulled and then closed. “The Way” begins with electronic melodies and rhythms with effected and distant sounds, and then develops the main theme around the minute with a rhythmic session close to Hard Rock. The guitar is made up of massive riffs and always guides the sound, being the main instrument played by Rick, despite demonstrating a certain familiarity with all the instruments present in the track, pleasant and smooth. “Reflections” presents an intro with repeated and hypnotic electronic keyboards to which the other instruments are gradually added, with heavy guitar riffs with a clear Metal stamp. After a long instrumental section that lasts up to the middle of the song, an effected vocal enters and the track becomes softer and more elaborate, until the ¾ when it regains intensity and power returning to the territory of Metal. A good song, mostly instrumental with few vocal lines here and there and where Rick‘s technique comes out. “Sunrise The Rain” which except for the intro is the shortest song, is instead mostly sung, a song always with Metal influences, but with less aggressive and calmer sounds. A track that softens the tones, more in the form of a ‘song’ with a pleasant and flowing Rocky sound. We have therefore arrived at the first of the two ‘suites’ “Mysterious Ghost” which begins with melancholic melodies and a rhythm closer to electronic music, while guitar and keyboards intertwine creating a carpet on which a vocal is inserted at times with effects with a gloomy character. In the central section the rhythmic session increases the thrust and the song acquires intensity with the entrance of the electric guitar, and the plot becomes more elaborate with cues of very fast Death Metal and with rapid accelerations. The second part is rich in tempo changes and is a mixture of various genres, which alternate at each change, we pass from Rock to sudden outbursts in the Death field, passing through the Symphonic and at times for the Prog, fielding all the influences of ‘artist. Concludes the album “Follow The Rain,” slightly shorter than the previous one, but still close to 15 minutes, starts immediately with a tight drum and heavy guitar riffs. Unlike the previous one, the mix here is between Prog and Black Metal with pompous inserts of symphonic orchestrations, which develop in the central part with a classical section. The second part is characterized by the intertwining of the guitar and the orchestrations with a dark vocal at times choral, to close with an instrumental in calando. A multi-faceted album, with many ideas and intertwining of different genres and styles with a personal touch of the artist, which shows his ability to play all the instruments, as well as having written, composed and mixed the entire work. The poly-instrumentalist Rick Massie in addition to playing also sings all the vocal parts, riding more styles, from the softer and more melodic clean voice to the heavy and screamed voice of extreme Metal. Good the malgamation and the drafting of the songs, as well as the execution, in my humble opinion the only small flaw is the use of the programmed drum, with a real drum this good work would certainly have reached a higher level, despite being in any case a smooth and pleasant disc.

Tracklist

1. Eclipse
2. A Moment of Truth (Uncertainty)
3. Time After Time
4. The Way
5. Reflections
6. Sunrise in the Rain
7. Mysterious Ghost
8. Following the Rain

Lineup

Rick Massie / All Instruments, Programming, Composer, Arranger, Mixing and Mastering

Rick Massie |Official Website|Bandcamp|Facebook Page|Twitter|Instagram|Spotify|YouTube Channel|

Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

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