Rhythm Of Mars are back with a blistering extended play (mini album) called Window Of Destiny. The Arkansas based 3 piece led by virtuoso guitarist Aaron Straub and keyboardist/composer Patti Unruh have hit a sweet spot on this release with Straub’s crisp guitar work taking centre stage.
Houdini opens the album and is a good place to start if you’re new to the band. Straub and Unruh rock out in high tempo riffing before the pace changes to a slow/mid tempo and stunning guitar solo climax.
Love Spell demonstrates the versatility of a band that have been labelled as progressive rock, jazz, alternative and even new wave! The production of the album is top notch and aided by excellent mastering from East Hall Recording. Love Spell has the atmospheric feel of a movie soundtrack again showcasing Straub’s guitar work over a haunting keyboard theme.
The intro on Pleiadian invokes beautifully the aura of the Nordic aliens before a battle like march bridges into more delicate keyboard work by Unruh. I’m not sure if there was a desire to create a fantasy world image with this track but it certainly works.
The sublime Labyrinth was recently featured on an Aurovine compilation and is a jazzy complex piece with fast and intricate acoustic guitar work. The compositional qualities are diverse – ranging from irish folk through to progressive rock. The quality of the album remains steadfastly high with the title track keeping melody at the forefront lest we get carried away in the subtleties of the arrangements.
The guitar work on the title track is once again majestic. It’s a sound that would surely carry over to the live environment perfectly. You’d think an instrumental album of 8 tracks could be hard work but not so with this collection. Each track takes on a new identity and on La Noche Patti’s stellar keyboard work is the highlight – a beautiful organ sound is serenaded by exquisite piano.
The spanish flavoured Masquerade is another superb composition showing Straub is equally at home playing flamenco style guitar as he is with the full on electric sound.
Evolve wraps the album up and somehow combines the two guitar styles to dramatic effect. A suitable closer to a very enjoyable album that i’ll be listening to more over the coming holidays. Fans of progressive rock will love it but there’s more than enough to interest fans of alternative rock, classic rock, jazz and ambient genre’s also!
By Ken Foster