Year of Release: 2000
Label: Neurosis Records
Catalog Number: n/a
Total Time: 00:00:00
Riot Act's guitarist Rick Ray sent this, Approach With Extreme Caution, and his other Riot Act release, Maniacal Disastrophe Tour, many, many, many months ago (a year?). Along with Ray, Riot Act features bassist/vocalist Jack Ambrose and drummer/vocalist John Cek. There is no question that this is a Ray release. His signature lyric writing and structure are apparent everywhere, despite the fact that two of the tracks were co-written with others. However, it wasn't until track five, "Sands Of Time," that things seemed too familiar. That is, in listening to this somewhat Beatles-esque track -- a mix of something that George Harrison or John Lennon would have composed -- I felt as if I had heard it before. Further investigation reveals that I was correct and that no fewer than 6 of the album's 15 tracks (11 are listed) have appeared on Ray's solo releases. The rundown goes like this: "Sands Of Time," "Front Seat In Hell," and "Are We Ready" appear on Clone Man; "Money Up Your Nose," on Neurotic Tendencies; "The Night Crawls In," on You People; and "Fire It Up," on Balance Of Power. (The four tracks not listed are bonus cover tunes, mentioned later).
Of those that seem to be appearing on CD for the first time, the highlight is "The Assassin Knows" which gets quite funky in the middle sections (something that continues in "Are We Ready," both are quite energetic tracks). "Uncle Scam" has a rap-like attitude, down to the way the vocals are delivered. While it's not quite rap enough to turn one off, it makes for a refreshing change in the all to familiar lyrical pattern that Ray writes in -- what essentially seem like four-line, rhyming stanzas, following either an aabb or abab rhyming pattern (to get overly technical).
"Money Up Your Nose" is a crunchier track than is typical of Ray fare -- there's a hint of Rush in the dark, grinding guitars, while the more chiming guitar parts that open the track are reminiscent of not only Rush, but also of Dream Theatre. The highlight of a Ray piece isn't necessarily the pointed lyrics but his guitar playing, and it there that he excels.
Several bonus tracks round out the album, beginning with Robin Trower's sultry blues number "No Time," moving through a rawer version of the Yardbird's classic track "I'm A Man," though it keeps the same kind of feel as the original. A third bonus is "Babylon Revisited" by Frank Marino, which sounds to me like something that is one part classic heavy rock (Rainbow/Deep Purple come to mind) and one part Hendrix. Bonus track number four is the Allman Bros.' blues-rock piece "Whipping Post."
In The Real World / Money Up Your Nose / Front Seat In Hell / Life In The Electric Chair / Sands Of Time / The Assassin Knows / Are We Ready / Tell Me Where / The Night Crawls In / Uncle Scam / Fire It Up
Rick Ray - guitar, vocals
Jack Ambrose - bass, vocals
John Cek - drums, vocals
Live At Suma (1996/2000)
Maniacal Disastrophe Tour (2000)
Approach With Extreme Caution (2000)