Red Sand – The Sound Of The Seventh Bell (2021)
For starters I can say that I own every cd that Canadian progrockers Red Sand made so far, so yeah, you can say that I know their music well. They started as a band that made music that was very similar to Marillion in their early days. The albums Gentry and Mirror of Insanity show how melodic and compelling band leader Simon Caron can play the guitar. The music is fine, but the guitar parts are very dominant. There are often very long songs on their records that are interspersed with short instrumental parts. In that respect, the replacement of various singers and other band members over the years has not changed much because this structure has also been roughly maintained on newcomer The Sound Of The Seventh Bell. Singer Steff has been on board for a while, but Caron now really pulls almost everything to himself and also plays the keys and bass. He at least leaves the drums to Perry Angelillo and this man does this very well. You can almost say that Red Sand has now become a family project because Caron's wife and daughter also play a role, with regard to the lyrics and a beautiful piece of piano in the longest song Cracked Road. The influences of the aforementioned early Marillion have made way for eminent Pink Floyd influences on the later albums and this was very audible on predecessor Crush The Seed. What does this mean for the compositions on this latest album? There are three parts of the title track on it and these are quite a part of the content of this record. Together with the instrumental Reichenbach, nice song, I think these are the best parts of The Sound Of The Seventh Bell. I can't hide my sympathy for these men, but I have to be honest. I've heard better albums from them and in the long song Cracked Road there are even parts that I find downright disturbing. The fact that no real keyboard player is involved anymore means that there is no longer a balance between keys and guitar and the quest for variation does not always work out well. Steff is a singer who is very involved and driven, but he does not have a voice that can compete with the real top singers in the genre and where he forces himself it sometimes even becomes a bit uncomfortable. There is a bonus track on the album but in my opinion they should have left it out because it really isn't an addition. All in all, I think this is a somewhat disappointing album from a band that has made better ones. I'd rather listen to Behind The Mask or the already mentioned Mirror Of Insanity, but okay, Caron's lyrical guitar playing is and remains a treat for the ear. I also have to mention the really awfull cover. I know they can do better, sorry.