Ray, Rick - The Key To The Bottomless Pit

Year of Release: 1999
Label: Neurosis Records
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 54:32:00

[Editor's Note: This is the second of three reviews, where each follows on from the next. Clone Man, The Key To The Bottomless Pit, and Neurotic Tendencies]

The second of the three Rick Ray releases under review is The Key To The Bottomless Pit, which gets off to a shaky start with the slightly warped sounding "Isotope 239." The clarinet here fits in much better than on Clone Man. Of the disks, this is the shortest track wise, containing only 9 (the others are between 12 and 16, including the previously reviewed Abnormal Road.

The mixing on Key... is mostly muddy, dense, though "The Einstein Blues" lifts above with its bright arrangement; bass and percussion are clearly heard - including symbol accents. There is a strange (in a good sense) melding of 50's big band (backing) and modern rock (guitar). One finds an assurance not found on the previous two tracks and much of the rest of this album.

"Power In The Empire" is a bluesy Van Halen-like number, the percussion getting a little heavy. However, except for the guitar, it runs in place, like a looped bit of the backing track. I hear a little Deep Purple in there, too, circa Machine Head.

The title track hints musically at Sammy Hagar's "Your Love Drives Me Crazy," yet this track mostly goes in a different, proggy direction for the chorus and bridges in a Marillion-meets-Pink Floyd-meets-Genesis kind of way with the keys and light guitar phrases. Oh, and there's also a Beatles-esque part, too, around the Magical Mystery Tour period. (That whole Beatles thing should be obvious given the album Abnormal Road and its cover illustration). "The Key?" doesn't so much end as die out - like the predicted of coming of Y2K or, as the album suggests, when the bombs were dropped on Japan. It is a dramatic and powerful moment.

This is a concept album - though I suppose all his releases could be said to be concept albums - the concept becomes clear with the track titles: "Isotope 239," "One More War," The World's Requiem" and, of course, the title track. All the knowledge we learned about atomics and we used it to annihilate a population, nor nearly so.

On par with most of Ray's material, there is more to recommend about it than not.

Isotope 239 (6:45) / Everything We Know (8:29) / The Einstein Blues (3:51) / One More War (4:24) / Power In The Empire (5:14) / The Key To The Bottomless Pit (17:13) / Violent Gentlemen (3:52) / Rip Snorter (1:55) / The World's Requiem (2:49)

Rick Ray - guitar, guitar synth, bass, RX8, percussion, keyboards, and vocals
Rick Schultz - 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: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: January 1st 2000
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website: www.rickray.net
Hits: 1165
Language: english


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