Dec 8, 2009

Redolent: Fresh Scent of Rock

Album: ‘Infinite Horizon,’
Genre: Christian Rock
Artiste: Redolent
Studio: Clef Ensemble (Ser’s Bazar, Kohima)
Album Ratings: Must Listen. Else, go open a Paan Shop on Mt. Japfu.

The first thing I did sooner as this huge guitar riff came on, was slam the headphone down and scurry through the sound credits. I blinked at the sound. The credit declared ‘Recorded, Mixed and Mastered at Clef Ensemble, Ser’s Bazar in Kohima.’ (Hey, that’s Theja Meru’s kingdom, yeah?) And the sound-pusher? I’m told Redolent’s bassman Steve Bordin engineered it. Redolent’s second Christian album ‘Infinite Horizon’ was gonna be something worth an ear or two, if not new.

One insufferable itch I always had to endure in reviewing local rocks albums is the eternal “local PCO” sounding sound and forever-maudlin songs. Our eternal obsession about “promoting local talents” just because a contrast was erected between it and other music industries hold no water, for me at least. I mean would you promote some lousy, mediocre band knowing fully well they are mediocre?

This obviously means I really don’t always have the courage to review many a local album simply because they sounded too immature to be even stupid, and too stupid to be even embarrassing. Not that any Dream Theater-type mastering was expected, but Redolent’s sound has this distinct professional touch, unlike the scuttle-bags of many a 4-track studio gad. I’d say this album has the best sound and better songs so far as the local albums over the years are concerned.

I passed this CD over to a friend, himself a prolific guitarist, for his observation as well, just to make sure. He was quiet impressed. In the SMS he sent me he was like “Uh-huh, this album’s got the coolest sounding sound for a long time from the Naga rock scene; it’s got a touch of pro. Love the guitar sound, the drums and many of the songs. Kudos to Clef Ensemble, the sound engineer (whoever he was) and to the band for achieving that sound”! He also added “if this song was aired on the radio, nobody would figure out it’s a local band!” Guess my buddy’s comment was an affirmation.

So whattabout the songs?

You should jump ‘Land of your heart.’ It’s highly-listenable, a straight-out, mid-tempo swing metal number with a touch of symphonic metal harmonies. The guitar tone is extremely polished – and I’m 100% sure any local guitarist that ever recorded from a Nagaland studio would give a lucky left finger, to achieve this sound. The song is melodic, but simple enough for one to ponder over its tonic intricacy. This is a vital ingredient in any good song. Truly, if this was aired on the radio, nobody’s gonna guess it’s a local band. And check out the drums – how was that sound achieved? Kudos.

Then there’s this sunny, sunny happy soft rock ‘Coming Home.’ Soft Rockies are gonna lap this one up. The superb guitar tone (the solo’s nice) continues here. Lead singer Chingkhiuliang is in element. Its quiet apt in here – the song is about redemption and revival. You’ll like this one too.

Then there’s ‘As you walk away.’ It’s, well, painfully disappointing. The musical arrangements could have been stronger – it sounds like a song designed for some shitty government function. Of course, it is quiet listenable and hummable considering it’s a dedication to a deceased friend. Ok, ok, guest vocalist Azeena sings like some MTV heartache vocalist, the acoustics are crisp and all the jazz. But …hmm…well, it’s also very maudlin, too ordinary. It’s like one of those Hong Kong Market “Adidas” and “Nike” shoes – pricey and genuine-looking – but still, fake.

‘Be There for me’ is a good effort. Johan’s great guitar tone and Samuel’s superb drum is still there. Slow, melodic and introspective rock. Not a highlight but very, very listenable.

Then, ‘Everywhere I go.’ It’s for Christ. The song is one of those that make you climb to the rooftop terrace, watch the sunset go down the horizon, and recall yesterday’s memories …and maybe let trickle a tear or two. And thank God for all His grace, His sacrifice, and the redemption; slow soft, introspective, sad and beautiful yet a humbly triumphant rock ballad. The melodies are so beautifully arranged that if, say, skinsman Samuel had even squeezed in a two-two of his drums, the song would have gone down Disaster Avenue Street. The guitar solo is exceedingly emotive. You may even start thinking everyone in the band is crying silently during this song. A song worthy to be sung in praise of someone so worthy. If you don’t like this one, too bad, you don’t have a rooftop. Beautiful.

After the melancholic lull, ‘One life’ blasts through the door and sticks into your face the question: what you gonna do all alone without the Almighty Him? Mid-tempo and slow but undeniably very stern and crunchy with a nu-metalish tinge; with that patterned texture of European metal. ‘One life’ is very good effort. Redolent shines here as rockers.

Then, ohmyfreakingwhatever, Redolent suddenly forget they are musicians, with ‘Fragrance of your love.’ My freakingfingers! Listening to this song, you begin wondering if you should go for a more rewarding job like climbing Mt. Saramati. Redolent’s great sense of harmony and instrumentation’s missing in action here. It’s too mushy, for potatoes’ sake, even for childish teenage romance poetry! Please, you’d have been better off singing ‘country road’ in E minor.

But Hallelujah, ‘Free’ jumps to the rescue to free you from the tepidity and stupidity of involuntary loss of musical direction! But waitafreakingoneminute… What’s Linkin Park doing in Nagaland? ‘Free’ starts off with that amazing guitar crunch sound…and ends up sounding like a sleepier version of those three-chord nu-metal people…Sure, sure, them Limp Bizkit kids are gonna love it…of course, the song sounds like it was a nu-metal demo. You can’t miss the influence in there. Good, heavy and very crunchy, but certainly NOT original and different from the other 3 billion something nu-metal/hip hop bands out there.

What’s now? ‘Picking up the pieces.’ They better start doing so. Thankfully, after a couple of very listenable but not very imaginative songs, the band blasts back by making up for their disastrous numbers earlier. Redolent is in its pure rock element here – superb arrangements, concise yet very technical and you should check out the incredibly harmonic chorus. Cool. And I notice Obed Newmai of the ‘Messianic Troopers’ shares in guitar duties here. Another superb crunchy number for the rockhead

What’s for dessert? ‘Light of the world.’ Here, Azeena sings like her voice is built for –strong, assertive and confident. And you have children’s choir here. A very, very commendable effort. The lyrics are also one of the most emotive, in the album. One of the better songs. Very ‘singable.’

Redolent’s ‘Infinite Horizon’ is arguably, the most professional sounding effort – the mastered Sonics and songs as well – to have emerged from the Nagaland stable over the years – that is, if you can find a copy of the Rs. 90 CD. (I’m told the thing’s all sold-out but if demand pops out its popular head, a second edition could be well on way). One small thing: Chingkhiuliang’s got a nice range but I feel he didn’t really sing that confidently. Overall, it’s a superb album. Congratulations to the sound engineer, the studio and of course, the band. Can’t wait for their next one.

(Redolent started in 2003 Tamenglong. Steve Kahmei (bass guitarist and manager) says the band was started to ‘make good use of talents bestowed on us by God and hopefully to bring an inspiring change in the Gospel music scene for the local youths in a small way.’)

The reviewer can be reached at alngullie@yahoo.com or alngullie on Yahoo Messenger.

9 comments:

  1. Enjoyed reading it...

    one correction-Bass guitarist Steve surname is not "Bordin" it's Steve Kahmei :):) unless he changed his surname :)

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  2. Hello, thank you for the correction :) It is much appreciated

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  3. Very nicely reviewed.

    I personally liked the 'Coming home'.

    I happen to have known some of the Band members personally. I'd pass it to them if you had not done it already. :) That would help 'em make better music, I suppose.

    Regards,
    Len Kamei

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  4. Thank you, Len, you are gracious. I thoroughly enjoyed reviewing the album - it was different is many a way and I believe, Redolent's debut also in some way urged more technically enterprising efforts. Till redolent I'd yet to come across any other that even sounded "tolerable" :) With due respect to other musicians who have released their works.

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  5. REDOLENT is standing as a big inspiration to me... Maybe if God's willing, I can start a gospel alternative band to blow people's mind when my time comes... Thank you Redolent. God bless you. Ringtelo......

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  6. Yes really there is something about Redolent which is different from other bands around. Thanks Al Ngullie for the review. Your articles are always interesting.

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  7. damn......redolent rocks... i like every song and Sir Ngullie the way yuo represent them its also amazing... GOD BLESS

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  8. Please copy the lyric "fragrance of your love" in my email (mgha9@live.com). I like this song

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  9. Would be grateful if you send me the guitar tab of fragrance of your love anyway it was awesome.

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