Rhythm of Mars, Romancing The Snake

Toeing the line between demure instrumental and Sci-Fi inspired prog rock, Rhythm of Mars, in simplest terms, is the culmination of musical interplay between effects-laden guitar and synth, sans lyrics. The album waxes and wanes between down tempo tracks driven by melody to overt guitar string-ripping anthems in the vein of Joe Satriani and Steve Vai. This will strike a chord with contemporary listeners of Coheed and Cambria and throwback units the likes of Rush, Yes and Emerson, Lake and Palmer alike.

“Spanish Flyze” MP3:


The EP opens to “Inner Alien” and foreshadows the album ethos of Sci-Fi piano and guitar tandem. The spacey synth intro eventually gives to piano tinkles and wah pedal guitar as the track crescendos to full band. The guitar stands at the foreground of this one with backing piano just beneath the surface. However, the percussion needs to be brought up on the track as it sounds like the kit is being played in another room. “Forbidden Dance” features the piano prowess of Patti Unruh with piano at the front backed by weepy, almost string-like synth just behind. The chimed percussion is slight and the whole of the song is as sad as it is beautiful. Weighing in at more than seven-minutes, title track “Romancing The Snake” again features the interplay of Unruh and Aaron Straub’s bent note guitar work. Through the first five minutes the musical landscape remains the same until slight percussion sneaks in to bolster Straub’s exit solo. While the guitar makes for a soaring outro, the placement and unexpected appearance of the backing drums seems odd and more after thought than deliberate.

Based initially on the packaging, this was obviously a DIY project so to give the benefit of the doubt Romancing is good within that scheme of thought. Both Straub and Unruh are extremely proficient at their respective instruments and their musicality is vast. What the album lacks is the polish of a larger-scale production and better arrangement. While the tracks stand up on their own merit, the album lacks the peaks and valleys that carry a listener through it and on the whole the diversity of the songs suffers.    

by Chris West – cwest@skopemagazine.com

[Rating: 3/5]

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