Raz Ben Ari – Augmented Reality

Raz Ben Ari is a guitar player mostly known for his popular 2010 YouTube video, “Ten Genres of Metal in 3 Minutes”. With approximately 2 million views, you can tell the guy has struck a chord(pun intended) with fans of metal music and guitar enthusiasts worldwide. However, today we are not going to talk about the video, but about Raz’s new 2013 instrumental EP, “Augmented Reality”.

It’s never bad to have a few million people around who already know your name, but that also creates greater expectations regarding this release, I guess. Regardless of those, making a successful album is always hard work, and it’s time to check out what Raz has in store for us!

Augmented Reality” begins with a straightforward and fun opening track titled “Spasm” that is really hard to dislike, showcasing Raz’s melodic heavy metal style and sound. It’s a catchy piece, short and sweet, with a very nice lead guitar tone that reminds me of the Italian Marco Sfogli. Check it out ya’ll:

At number 2# we have the title track slowing things down a bit for an “epic” effect perhaps. It’s a varied track but I actually don’t think it’s the best here, and while you could say next song “Beneath the Skin” is also on the slower side, the latter has a more natural flow to it. It’s chill build-up leads to an excellent climax with tasteful soloing. No nonsense shred here!

Fireworks” begins with a nostalgic synth intro taken straight from old video games, preparing the stage for some highly melodic content. Yes, this one’s a truly riff-tastic lead-fest, and perhaps my favorite on the album. It will definitely remind you of some classic video game tunes, but certainly has its own memorable personality.

Sink or Swim” is a lightweight but rocking instrumental with a real american vibe to it, which can be heard in phrasing of the leads and in those open chords. I bet Joe Satriani would like this piece. The sixth and final song on “Augmented Reality” is “A Night Among The Wolves“. ‘Downright the best song title I’ve seen in a while, “A night..” has it’s guitars backed up by a brilliant piano and generally has quite the Neo-Classical\Prog feel to it, brought to a conclusion with an awesome solo. It’s the most epic, lengthy track here and probably the best on the album together with “Spasm” and “Fireworks“.

All in all, although a short release, “Augmented Reality” is definitely a solid one. To listen to the whole EP head to http://razbenari.bandcamp.com/, and let know what you think. I certainly enjoyed this album and would love to hear more new material from Raz Ben Ari in the future. Long Live Heavy Metal!

8/10

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