Ray, Rick - Manipulated D.N.A.

Year of Release: 2001
Label: Neurosis Records
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 74:13:00

Just throwing a brief glance at Rick Ray's discography is bound to make blood freeze and jaws drop in unbelieving astonishment, much like it would to see Surinam (no offense intended!) win the World Cup one day. How the hell did this man find the time to record all those damn records in two years? In such a short time, Ray has amassed a quantity of material that would make even Frank Zappa look unproductive and ineffective, slowing down the rate of releases only because of a return to the live circuit, and giving the public a single record for last year: Manipulated D.N.A.

With his latest offering, Rick Ray has created a world of music with the apparent principal design of giving his rapid fingers a bed on which to lay their dexterous licks on, as the six stringed instrument known and loved by all rock listeners acts as the muscle behind the record, with all spotlights set upon it and seldom moved away. Not that there would be much use in doing so anyway, because Ray's vocals usually come across as too mild, weak, or uninspired and thus only serve their true purpose during a few moments. Or perhaps there would actually be a point, as Rick Schultz's winds are in marked contrast one of the most welcome features of the entire album and flow with such ease and grace of passion that they overthrow the rest and demand the loudest ovation.

The problem with Manipulated D.N.A. is the common foe that goes by the name of bad production, which in this case does more than just detract from the music on the album or dampen its impact; it almost manages to kill it by draining all the life force out of everything. Even when "The Nothing Man" starts with an uplifting mood in which Ray's vocals actually work to perfection, or "Manipulated D.N.A." kicks off with a mid-tempo headbanging riff, it is rather hard to get into any of the ideas and soundscapes provided by Ray, as they just sound too thin and flat. Worst of all, things don't really work out in this area until the album's very last two tracks, in which Schultz takes the spotlight with some smooth jazzy runs that quickly patch up all the previous wrong impressions.

Even then, however, two tracks of adequate sound cannot be anything but patchwork in the end. In the light of this, the fact that Ray manages to bring about a curious sense of variety despite his penchant for wah-wah-induced soloing and complete self-indulgence does bring things up a bit, but soon the coin is flipped to its dark side, where the listener notices that a number of tracks on Manipulated D.N.A. are actually not very interesting at all, production included or not. The lengthy meanderings of "Psychonaut" lose focus quickly, and "Flies On Simon" just ends up being tiresome after a while, something that just waters down the effectiveness of the record to the point that it would become too hard to listen to were it nor for its latter tracks. Had Ray cut out the slack (certainly possible in a record that, as it stands, lasts well over an hour) and bettered the production on this effort, it would probably be an awesome guitar record with some cool and really retro progressive ideas. For now, however, Manipulated D.N.A. is nothing more than an uneven collection of ideas, songs, and self-indulgent solos.

Similar Artists: Frank Marino & Mahogany Rush, Robin Trower

The Nothing Man (6:52) / Selling Confusion (6:37) / Manipulated D.N.A. (6:35) / Psychonaut (10:54) / If The Truth Was Told (4:57) / Flies On Simon (7:19) / Orangutan Ballet (3:25) / Requiem For Sanity (2:12) / Could This Be (5:15) / Ignorance And Apathy (5:47) / It's All To Clear (3:47) / They'll Never Learn (5:41) / Bonus track: Untitled (4:52)

Rick Ray - guitars, keyboards, vocals, percussion, bass, RX8
Rick Schultz - bass, clarinet, electric clarinet

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: Rock

Origin US

Added: August 25th 2002
Reviewer: Marcelo Silveyra
Artist website: www.rickray.net
Hits: 637
Language: english


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