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A Conceptual Opus - 77%

Aralyon, July 6th, 2009

For those not familiar Equirhodont is a side project of the members of the Czech. legends Root, namely Big Boss. This album is an extension of Big Boss’s concept first presented on Root’s Kargeras album from 1996 that follows this character, the Equirhodont, through his travels and experiences.

Unfortunately, as grand as the idea and concept for this album is, it’s actual execution pales greatly when compared. The album consists of 8 tracks, three of which are interlude/introduction tracks; While these tracks do set the stage for their counterparts, it leaves about forty percent of the album to these short interlude pieces which can not stand on their own musically. So what about the remaining sixty percent of the album? Vocally there really are no surprises or disappointments; Each individual track is opening by a narrator who sets the stage for each part of the story before Big Boss comes in. For those familiar with Big Boss and his vocal style, everything here stays true to what he’s done within Root though the focus of the vocals on this album seems to be on a more serene, low-key style rather than what he sometimes does within Root. The music is a different story. Most of the songs presented here sound exactly the same musically. Tracks such as “Meeting,” “Song” and “The Monolith of Demons” opus trudge along at the exact same pace with little to no variation between them. The guitar work mainly consists of chords played in the background while there is consistent soloing over the top. While this remains interesting for the first three or four minutes, it does not hold up well throughout the entire album. The drums are electronic and really don’t hinder the album but at the same time do not offer anything viable.

The element that is most different here that usually is not present in Root is the use of snyths and keyboards. The use of them on this album helps create sort of an otherwordly or exotic feel that is consistent throughout the duration of the disc. Though it is different, the keys are presented in a sort of uninspired fashion; just playing in the background, holding these already thin songs together; The most complete piece of music on this outing is the Monolith Of Demons I/Bridge To…/the Monolith Of Demons II portion of the album. In a sense, one could say the album builds up to this point. The last three tracks are inherently dark pieces of music in which the keyboards move away from their background role and dominate the scene creating the most complete songs on the album. This notion is especially evident during the final track “Monolith Of Demons II” which easily captures the spot of top track on this album.

While the concept here is interesting, it seems like the purpose of this album was to tell a story more so than to present something musically. The music here just seems to “go along” with the lyrics/concept, which is the centerpiece of this album. I think it’s worth noting that the music to the most interesting tracks, the Monolith opus, is credited to being written by Big Boss while the rest of the album was composed by the guitarist Ashok; That really does lead me to believe that this was more or less Big Boss’s vision and something that he knew how to inherently express and did so with his musical contributions; It is a shame that Ashok’s musical contributions were not on the same level as Big Boss’s because if so, this album truly could have been grandiose.