Rite Of Passage are an American progressive rock and metal band based in the city of Detroit. Their debut album Angels And Demons is a concept album divided in three phases: Separation, Transition and Reincorporation. The album is quite an ordeal to listen to. I really had troubles with listening to the complete album in one go, because so much happens in the music. Right from the intro of the first track you immediately notice that the music is very bombastic. Their musical style is pure prog metal in the vein of Dream Theater, Ayreon, Queensr˙che and Symphony X. This is music for headbangers, even though it contains a lot of rhythm, changes of themes and time signatures. Some changes in some tracks don't go really smoothly in my opinion, but they're not that disruptive. The bass guitar is emphatically present in the mix, which I really like.
The album starts with Breaking Through The Walls. As I mentioned earlier, the intro is bombastic and put you immediately in the front seat of a rollercoaster. Bill Quigley sings with a lot of emotion; he knows how to give this track more power. The following piece Dream Horizon reminds me of a blend of the metal riffs from Dream Theater and the melodies of Ayreon. I also love the sound of the violin in this track. The chorus is quite catchy to sing along with. The third track Before Midnight starts with a haunting cuckoo clock. It contains a very cool piano solo in the middle of the song followed by a guitar solo. Next is Change And Transition which starts as a peaceful song with a beautiful piano passage followed by bass guitar and vocals. Here Quigley shows that he can also sing tenderly. Later on the piano becomes more haunting and the music turns to heavy metal.
The title track starts very psychedelic with percussion and Middle Eastern-like sounds; this magical piece of music also ends this way. Dark Necessity contrasts to the title track since it is very up-tempo containing heavy guitar riffs. It has the same atmosphere as opener Breaking Through The Walls with many changes of theme and rhythm. Saying Goodbye has a weird but awesome intro. Special guest singer Stefanie Dillard is providing for the vocals on this track. The last track Flash Of Clarity is the longest one on Angels And Demons. It starts heavy but after six minutes you'll hear a calm and orchestral passage. After about eight minutes the music gets heavy again. Actually it has a weird ending with some short changes of theme and pace and then it ends all of a sudden.
As far as I'm concerned Angels And Demons contains a bit too much metal for my ears. Since I like a lot of prog metal, I'm sure that prog metal fans will love this album! People who like their music with a lot of power, diversity in musical themes and changes of pace and who like to play the air guitar will certainly enjoy this album!
**** Iris Hidding (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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