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THE RICK RAY BAND (Violence Marred By Peace) CD

Largely unnoticed by the wider public, guitarist Rick Ray has released thirty-one albums on his own record label Neurosis Records since 1999. This is truly a considerable number. It seems almost as if he don't want to be part of the greedy music industry. That's what I call an admirable mindset, especially considering that Rick Ray is an exceptional guitarist. So it's no surprise that The Rick Ray Band has played shows with bands like Black Oak Arkansas, Frank Marino & Mahogany Rush, Michael Schenker Group and Blue Öyster Cult, just to name a few. The first time I listened to his music was in 2003, when Rick sent me a copy of his latest album 'Into The Hands Of Sinners'. Six years have passed since this very moment, and 'Violence Marred By Peace' is the penultimate album that has been released in 2008 on Neurosis Records. It's a surprisingly political record as you can see in the cover artwork. In addition to this, you have song titles such as 'Sgt. Pepperspray' or 'Violence Marred By Peace'.

In contrast, the musical performance is astonishingly peaceful and reminds me to bands like Blood, Sweat & Tears, Chicago and The Mothers Of Invention. The brass section of the band is made up, among other things, of the trumpet, trombone, saxophone or oboe, and blends in seamlessly. All musicians are highly skilled, with a good variety of colours and approaches, but perhaps the main thing is that all nine songs remain vital and vivid throughout. So, as far as it concerns this, there is not much to criticize about. Rick Ray's guitar solos are a class of their own. Playfully virtuously his fingers glide over the strings, sometimes so fast that it can be difficult to follow. Luckily, his perfection is never heartless and soulless, like it is often done by other guitarists. His unconventional vocal style is nearly as expressive as his playing, whereby he shares his function as a singer with Alex Abraham, who's doing a good job, too. Altogether this is a very cool album, which can be ordered directly from the band for only $7.00.