Ray Alder has been working as a vocalist and percussionist for several bands. In 2019, he released his first solo album. Now, he is adding a second one to his works. It is simply called II and has been released on 9th June 2023.
Ray Alder – About The Artist
Raymond Balderrama, was born on 20th August 1967 in San Antonio, Texas, USA. He most well-known as the lead singer of the progressive metal band Fates Warning. He joined the band with the 1988 No Exit album and is a member since then. Other band collaborations are with Engine and Redemption. He also had multiple guest musician roles. In 2019, Alder released his solo debut, What The Winter Wants.
Ray Alder – II – Track by Track
The nine track album lasts 51 minutes. There is also a version of the album which additionally includes an acoustic version of the opening track The Hollow Shell.
1. This Hollow Shell
There is no need to hurry could be the right slogan for the opener. The Hollow Shell starts slow and very melodic. Not too many surprises in this song – Alder is simply delivering what you likely expected anyway. Even if you haven’t listened to his first album – fans of Fates Warning are likely in their very own comfort zone from the first note of this one.
2. My Oblivion
Free the guitars and hail the riffs – Tony Hernando and Mike Abdow from the six string department have more opportunity to add some heavy tunes and smashing riffs to My Oblivion compared to the predecessor. Despite the song si a comparably short one (“just” 4:37 minutes, Ray Alder and his musicians still present a nicely balanced mixture of melodic vocal section and heavy-rocking instrumental showcases.
3. Hands Of Time
The songs at the beginning of the album don’t just feel to increase the heaviness character, but also get darker. Especially at the beginning of Hands of Time, there is quite some pressure from the instrumental section. The melodic chorus almost feels a bit of pop-ish in contrast to that..
4. Waiting For Some Sun
Waiting For Some Sun has been one of two single releases of the album. The album starts slow and quiet with a touch of melancholy. However, thereafter, the characteristic voice of Ray Alder is beautifully supported by progressive guitar and bass tunes. Here are there, some synth elements potentially surprise the listener.
5. Silence The Enemy
The fifth track is one of the straightest recordings of the album. The guitar riffs are driving the song, there is a great, marching touch. Again, the song blows you away with a catching chorus – but the other parts of the 4:42 minutes listen could also feature some special elements, bad luck.
6. Keep Wandering
The sixth song is taking over the role of a ballad. Unfortunately, I again feel that Keep Wondering is missing something to be a great power ballad. The almost six minute listen also feels a bit too long (or: too less versatile) to me. The instrumental parts underline the expertise of the staff behind’s Ray Alder’s II, though.
7. Those Words I Bled
Those Words I Bled comes with the exactly same duration as Keep Wandering. However, there are not too many similarities between the songs – apart from that. This song illustrates how to beautifully entertain with progressive metal sounds for six minutes. The elements of this songs might not be the most complex ones, but the composition workds.
We’re just passengers with no destination – I feel that the song has a nice destination for me. It goes straight from my ears to my heart. Very full, energetic sound quite at the ending of the album.
You haven’t been rocked sufficiently? Then there is the 7:45 minute chucker-out Changes. The song is a blending of emotional, almost kitschy parts, which then move towards very rocking sections. That’s definitely a song which safely makes you enjoy the last minutes of this album.
Ray Alder – II – Spotify
Here is the album on Spotify:
Ray Alder – II – My View
Ray Alder is a good one for a solo album as well. Even though some songs feel to be a bit too close to his band projects and you cannot deny a few weaker spots, The album is a straight, over fifty music listen. Not only fans will really enjoy it.
Media Reviews – US Hard Rock / Heavy Metal
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