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Rak - The Book of Flight CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.13 | 42 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
3 stars 'Lepidoptera II: The Book of Flight' - Rak (6/10)

Following up on their critically successful debut 'Lepidoptera', Rak continues their concept piece with another plate of symphonic hard rock. First starting as a highly melodic neo- progressive act, this Swiss band has continued to ferment their ambition into something a little more musically challenging. 'The Book of Flight' is an obvious work of toil. However, despite their obvious promise and talent, Rak's sophomore leaves me with a mixed impression.

Even playing within a genre infamous for its indulgence and complexity, it still takes a certain level of conviction to write an album-long piece of music. While 'The Book of Flight' may be broken into 'volumes', it flows more or less as a continuous piece of music. Even disregarding that, the songwriting is drawn out and longwinded, with four of the album's six tracks leaping over the ten minute mark. Surprisingly, the vast majority of Rak's music is still vocal driven, in spite of the lengths. Instrumentally speaking, Rak's style is on the edgier side of the symphonic, or 'classic' prog rock sound, with crunchier, quasi-metal guitars to balance out the typically lush keyboard and synth playing. The musicianship is strong, with the impressive melodic synths and technically challenging guitar playing making up the highlights. For the most part, the instrumentation is kept underneath the domination of the vocals, although 'The Deception' and 'The Great Machine' both feature some excellent instrumental moments that feel far too short-lived.

For a fairly long album that's largely led by the vocals of Dave Thwaites, his singing becomes quite a hot topic when judging the record. 'The Book of Flight' convinces me of two things concerning Thwaites' vocals. The first is that he is a good singer, with a voice that's well capable of conveying emotion and warmth. The second, and perhaps more important point is that, despite Thwaites' strength for more laid-back vocals, his delivery on 'The Book of Flight' too often sees him attempting to give an 'edgier' performance. In truth, it does not work nearly as well as a singer like Thwaites is clearly capable of. Much like the instrumental passages, Thwaites' more tender moments are excellent and brutally short- lived. Due to Rak's more drawn out and repetitive composition style, a single less-than- successful vocal idea can drag down an entire 'volume' her,e and that is certainly the case with 'The Book of Flight'.

Rak have impressed me, if only mildly, with this second album. Indeed, it does feel as if this band needs to consolidate their sound. While ambitious; the longform format feels largely superfluous relative to the band's style and emphasis on repetition. There is plenty of potential and promise with the band's sound, and 'The Book of Flight' is certainly worth a listen to any fan of a more keyboard-laden prog sound, but there is some room here to improve.

Conor Fynes | 3/5 |


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