I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect when I was first approached online by Doug Rausch, who’s surname serves as the band moniker known as Rausch. After listening to the album, it grabbed be like nothing I expected. I mean everything I love about progressive/art rock is here. Doug Rausch is not only a multi-instrumentalist, he’s also quite an original sounding singer. Joining Doug in the creation of the album are Gary Wehrkramp (listed as doing 81% of the guitars), and Joe Nevolo (drums). Both of which are from the progressive metal band, Shadow Gallery.
The lyrics of the songs on this album are full of piss and vinegar, as well as socially prevalent and sarcastic. Just look at the song titles alone and you’ll agree. I also think this is the music of my generation as well as the current one. There’s so much emotion poured into the vocals, unlike anything since almost forever. While everyone is trying to sound the same, Doug breaks out and bears his soul in many of the songs.
The album starts off with “No Fair” (4:57), a perfect opener in my opinion. It grabbed me from the first note. It has an art rock appeal as it goes through several styles including Queen-esque layered vocals in parts and lead guitar.
“Bipolar” (6:30) instrumentally reminds me of the Swedish group A.C.T but with more depth. Throughout this song alone, Doug bares his soul by pouring out emotion driven vocals.
“It Happens” (6:14) or as the lyrics sheet has it listed, $#it Happens. The song goes through various stages yet returning to the basic sound, with variations. This one has an ELO feel to it in parts as well as something found with newer bands like A.C.T.
“B.P.M.S.”(4:24) or Bitch and. Piss and. Moan and. Scream. An angry song? After listening to the song, I would say yes. I love the line “THERE”S SO MANY ASSHOLES IN THE WORLD”. In this day in age, I agree again. This is an anthem that speaks to the people.
“Ode To Pain” (5:00) is a stripped down song with Doug on vocals and accompanying himself on acoustic guitar. Without getting into any details, this song speaks to me in volumes. Obviously there’s some sarcasm to this song, so it must be taken with a grain of salt and your humor button turned on. This song gets repeated a lot on my media player.
“The Pros & Cons Of Linear” (6:39) is a rocker in a Queen/A.C.T/ELO mold. This is another of my favorite songs on the album. On the surface I understand the lyrics to be about time and how it controls us. I’m sure there’s a deeper meaning but I’ll let the listener decide. The vocal parts take up to about 3 minutes, then the remainder is instrumental. Starting with beautifully played piano with guitar woven in, then the guitar takes the lead until the end.
“Minimalism” (4:18) is one of those simple songs that stays with you long after the album is done. There’s memorable lyrics and a chorus which mocks “chorus” or at least I got it that way. It segues flawlessly into the next track, “Survival Instincts”.
“Survival Instincts” (6:23) is the heaviest on the album, thanks in part to Gary & Joe (Shadow Gallery). There’s also a dreamy epic feeling added to the heaviness of the song. I’d say this is the most progressive sounding of the entire album. Towards the end, there’s moments where it ventures into progressive metal territory.
“Slow Suite: I. Grey?” (4:04) is the shortest song on the album, just like “Ode To Pain”, it’s acoustic. This time the piano substitutes the guitar but with equal emotion. It’s almost like an epilog that sums up the emotions of the album.
Rausch takes the progressive and art rock of the 70’s and updates them yet stays clear of being something nostalgic. If you’re a fan of Queen, ELO, A.C.T, Ritual and many similar bands then you must get this album ASAP! This gets possibly the highest recommendation I’ve given in a while.
Reviewed by Ron Fuchs on September 16th, 2010