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When high technical guitar meets some musical poet - 100%

Frederick, July 15th, 2004

Patrick Rondat-Rape of the Earth

Patrick Rondat is known as one of the most famous french metal guitarists. He was involved in many projects/bands, such as the band Elegy, Alan Parry Consortium Project or even the famous New-Age composer Jean-Michel Jarre. He also participated to the G3.

But Patrick Rondat's especially famous for his solo works.
"Rape of the Earth" is his second solo album (1992)and certainly his ultimate masterpiece. Everything is perfect in it.

Of course, the particularity of PR's music being his incredible virtuosity, the album first aims at people who like instrumental guitar albums à la Satriani, Vai or Malmsteen. However the musicality of this album goes far beyond a simple display of his virtuosity. There really is a very deep poetry in his music that may touch any music lovers. In fact, I rarely heard such a poetry in a shredder album.

Personally, I'm generally not into all those instrumental technicalities but I was really caught under the spell of the atmospheres and the colours of this album. Plus the melodic themes are very catchy.

This album may be aimed at some different audiences as the metal one too. (Especially people who like music such as Vangelis or JM Jarre) As a matter of fact, this isn't only a technical heavy metal album, it's also very influenced by (electronic)New Age music which gives a very personal touch to this instrumental album comparing to some other shredders. - By the way, New Age composer Jean-Michel Jarre was very impressed by this heavy metal album and asked Rondat to join his own musicians band.

The new age side of this album gives all the more a specific depth to the ecologic theme of some pieces( "The last Whale", "Rape of the Earth"). You can feel also some classical influences notably in the use of some scales.
As for its interpretation of the very famous " Nuages" ("clouds" in french), it is simply fantastic. With its long gliding synthe chords waves, it really gives some feeling of open skies and clouds (far more than the jazzy original version, according to me. ) It is really different from the original piece btw. It is even impossible to recognize the single trace of Django's original jazzy style. Yet it's still "Nuages", but with some New-Age and Heavy-metal flavour. Strange experience indeed but very beautiful. Certainly the ultimate highlight of this album.

The pieces are very various, there are some slow gliding pieces that give a kind of bliss feeling( "the last Whale", "Nuages", "intro of "Barbarians at the Gates"), there are strong heavy pieces ( "Ultimate Dreams"), some fast ones ("Burn out"," Rape of the Earth", "Barbarians at the Gate"), and one acoustic( "World of Silence") which is very inspired by the classical guitar (Tarrega, Lobet, ect..) This one is BTW one of the toughest technical pieces he ever wrote.
All those pieces are gorgeous.

If you don't know this great guitarist, you should begin by this album.

A last word concerning the said-musical style of the album: one should be cautious with the classification words, some journalists like to use without any knowledge. I’m talking about the “neo classic” word in order to describe the Rondat’s music in this album, which is improper on a strict musicological and stylistic point of view. As a matter of fact, first, even though, classical music is obviously one of the numerous influences of Patrick Rondat, this is not the most striking element of his music, like this is the case for example with the music of Malmsteen, Rhapsody, After Forever or Therion, etc…. Moreover even though everyone understands what it actually means when the “neo classical” classification is applied to metal, one should keep in mind that the “Neo Classical" word is already used to design a specific aesthetic tendency in the history of Erudite Music. ( Neo classicism, in music, is indeed an important movement in the beginning of the 20th century music: Ravel, Stravinsky, Satie, The Six, etc…) which has nothing to do with the popular music such as metal -even when the latter tries to imitate it. –