Ricochet - Kazakhstan

(CD 2023, 58:38, Timezone)

The tracks:
  1- The Custodians(6:40)
  2- King Of Tales(4:37)
  3- Farewell(9:35)
  4- Interception(6:04)
  5- Waiting For The Storm(6:25)
  6- Beyond The Line(6:09)
  7- Losing Ground(6:55)
  8- On A Distant Shore(5:11)
  9- Kazakhstan(6:59)

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I must honestly confess that I had never heard of this band called Ricochet as it seems that Kazakhstan is already their third album.... Ricochet hailing from Germany (Hamburg), released their debut album Among The Elements in 1996 and their follow up album Zarah - A Teartown Story saw the light in the year 2005. So, after an eighteen-year hiatus Ricochet now finally release a new album, called Kazakhstan and what an album it is!

This really is a musical gem of the highest order, although the music is not really original - exceedingly difficult nowadays of course as every music form has already been exploited to the bone - and I am not quite sure if you could “label” this music as progressive rock. To me Ricochet definitely sounds more like metal and if you hear the voice of Michael Keuter (who sang in the Uriah Heep cover band Easy Livin' for a couple of years) then you really think Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson has released a new solo album... Seriously, of course not, but Keuter's timbre and tenor really have obvious similarities with Maiden's front man indeed.

The Custodians is a true impressive opening track with a huge addictive chorus and more than extraordinary guitar solos and hooks by Heiko Holler. Follow up King Of Tales is a 100% true metal track, bang your head and enjoy the very catchy riff here. Next up is the longest song of the album. Farewell kicks off with a couple of huge power chords, followed by amazing guitar work and some true keyboard wizardry by Bjorn Tiemann. Yes, you can label this song as a symphonic progressive rock track. Taking no prisoners indeed. Interception is the first quieter track and it is almost a true soft ballad with a very addictive melody reminding me of seventies prog rock. On A Distant Shore is another ballad featuring lots of melody and emotional vocals by Keuter. Ricochet's songs here feature an excellent balance between heavier sections and ballad like moments as none of the nine songs truly disappoint. The title track, being the last song here, is one of my favourites, featuring a more than excellent heavy guitar riff and a stormy keyboard solo, while the song never loses it formidable melody.

I genuinely love this very versatile album, as musically and vocally there is a lot to enjoy. Check it out and play it LOUD!!

**** Martien Koolen (edited by Dave Smith)

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