Reegonetti Band – Songs From The Raven’s Nest

 Reegonetti Band – Songs From The Raven’s Nest

Reegonetti Band – Songs From The Raven’s Nest – Album Review

You know how they old saying goes…four decades to make your first album, less than three years to make your second.  It’s something like that.  People say something similar to that.  I think.  Maybe?

Ohhhh right, it’s ‘a lifetime to make your first record, and two weeks to make your second.’

Okay, so…Reegonetti Band was pretty close to adhering to that old adage.  I’ll let you read more about that in my previous review of their single “Reach For The Sky” by clicking here if you feel so inclined, but suffice it to say, now that Börje Reinholdsson and Ronald Vikström have gotten a taste of what it’s like to actually get their music out there into the world, it appears to be flowing more fluidly than ever.

Sounding pretty good too if you ask me – as I started up Songs From The Raven’s Nest with “A Place Of Dread,” I felt like this duo was nothing but impressive.  From the complexity of their structures and timing, to the radiant sound of their vocals and melody beaming outta this opening tune, they’re really sounding powerfully confident in their latest material.  Rightfully so!  Not only are they an extraordinarily capable band of just two members, but they’ve got a remarkable grip on what great Progressive music is really all about.  Ensuring all the twists, turns, and thrills are part of the design, Reegonetti Band has quite clearly put the work in, and your ears will be able to immediately confirm that fact within a single spin of “A Place Of Dread.”  This track is played with serious purpose and intent, and it supplies exactly what you always hope to find at the start of a record with ease – “A Place Of Dread” gives you a combination of instantaneous excitement, and entices you to keep on listening.  I’d reckon this opener has the strongest chance at being the single from the album…not only does it have hooks that are strong enough to warrant the choice, but even on a visual level you can see that “A Place Of Dread” fits in the sweet spot of around the 4:30 mark, making it that much more accessible for most.  Someone out there must have felt the same way that I do – “A Place Of Dread” ended up getting full-video support – check it out below!

Things get significantly longer from there, but make no mistake, that just allows Reegonetti Band to find additional ways to keep you entertained.  There are definitely a plethora of bands out there that I’d enthusiastically recommend they shorten up their material, but this ain’t one of’em.  These two seem to get Prog-based music on levels that most don’t, and as far as their instrumentation goes, they’re always delivering top-shelf professionalism and extremely well thought-out writing.  Singing-wise, I’ve got my moments here & there…in the mellower moments of “Star In The Sky” for example, Börje sounds like a perfect!  Where he ramps up his intensity before the music seems to be ready to join him, I’m probably not as convinced that he’s not over-singing spots like that just a bit much, which introduces a bit of an arguably melodramatic tinge to the song…and I’m not entirely sure that’s the vibe they’d be going for.  While I’d be the first to tell ya that Börje is more than capable as a singer and the voice of Reegonetti Band overall, I’d still also be the person to tell ya that their shared musicianship speaks volumes more than any words ever could.  Do I think they’d be more effective or have more of an impact as an instrumental band?  Honestly, perhaps.  I’m not ruling it out, but I’m not saying that’s the direction they should go either.  Don’t get me wrong, he’s the right voice for the band and I actually like the way he sings too – I’m advocating more on behalf of the music rising up to support him at his most intense moments on the microphone, that way everything could potentially seem like a better fit for the song.  Musically though, good lord – they’ve got some mind-blowing highlight solos in this second track!  I love the way “Star In The Sky” starts out with such a fierce synth rhythm and groove, love the scattered details you’ll find in the background…Ronald’s got an exceptional ear for sound & clever ideas on how to make it supremely potent by using its dynamics to maximum effect, from the quiet parts, to the loudest.

Reegonetti Band continues to increase the length of their songs, with “Ghost In The Crowd” coming out just shy of the eight-minute mark at a robust 7:47.  I absolutely loved the opening Spoken Word part – it reminded me a lot of what I love about Carl Anderson’s music, and then it got me thinking about what an incredible collaboration it would be if he was to somehow get together with Ronald and Börje.  Sign me up for whatever would come out of that y’all…those three making music together could very well go on to be some of the finest you’d find on this planet of ours, in my personal opinion.  Anyhow!  I’ll quit dreaming for now, and get back to work here.  “Ghost In The Crowd” possesses a lower-key energy to it overall, but I’m all for it in this situation – it’s what really allows the words to make an impact on our ears, and you’ll notice they’ve really got something to say in this song.  “We often fall into the trap of living for tomorrow, putting off what we want to do today.  But remember, the future is not a guarantee.”  I freakin’ love that, and it’s merely one of a dozen quotes I could have pulled from this insightful song that thoroughly examines what makes life worth living.  I really thought the subtle solo that came after that final inclusion of Spoken Word was perfection too…there’s a lot to love about “Ghost In The Crowd” and what Reegonetti Band is pointing out about how we both use and abuse the time we have on this planet.  Like great Progressive music often does, they’ve created a song that’ll get your brain moving in multiple directions…”Ghost In The Crowd” is every bit as insightful as it is relatable.

Taking pity on all those folks that aren’t really fans of this style of music and its typically massive lengths, Reegonetti Band cuts you a break and dials back “Black Heart” to a modest, radio-friendly 7:34.  Of course I’m kidding around…that’s still a HUGE amount of time and a monumental ask of the modern day attention span in this TikTok world we’re living in.  Too bad kiddies!  Buckle up, buy the ticket, and take the ride!  I’m always impressed by the sound selection that Ronald uses and the quality you’ll find in what you hear – as in, I think there are a ton of people out there that would assume they’re listening to guitar parts, when in fact, everything added into their music comes directly from the keyboards.  I mean, Ronald’s credits expand to include piano and organ too, but you get what I mean – there are no guitars, even when your ears are convinced they’re probably hearing some, like they probably will in pieces of “Black Heart.”  Overall, I think they both deserve an extraordinary amount of credit for creating such an impressive amount of sound for just two dudes – but perhaps even more-so for continually recognizing what a song is really calling out for.  I have no doubt they could stuff a track as full as the mythical “Black Page” if they wanted to, but it’s tracks like “Black Heart” that show a smart professional restraint that allows them to show off their chops in an appropriate way that serves the song.  So there you have it folks – while they might try to convince you this is “pretentious intricate music with catchy refrains” – it’s probably not nearly as pretentious or as self-indulgent as half of what you’ve already experienced within the realm of Progressive Rock.  The results speak for themselves…when you’re listening to a song like “Black Heart,” you realize it has everything it needs, and not an ounce more.  Some of my favorite drums from Börje are found in this song without a doubt – he’s riotously entertaining and supremely skilled, and it was awesome to hear his instrumentation get a significant moment in the spotlight at the core of “Black Heart,” while still interacting brilliantly with his musical cohort and Ronald’s relentless ingenuity.

So…in terms of accessibility and the broader audience out there potentially listening…the folks that are not typically fans of Prog music and such – I’m talking to you.  I have no illusions about how listening to a record like this can be a daunting task from your perspective – EVERY song is well past the actual radio-friendly length of that sweet sweet 3:30 spot, and there is precious little that you’d likely feel like you could sing along with on albums with songs that contain as many twists and turns as this style of music tends to have.  That being said, I think a lot of people out there will be pleasantly surprised by how much accessibility they WILL find within this set-list of songs…I feel like there’s at least a little something for everyone in the lineup of tracks on Songs From The Raven’s Nest.  In particular, I’d imagine that “The Dark (Part 2 Of Into Oblivion)” will likely become a favorite for most folks listening, whether they’re dedicated Prog-fans or not.  Not only does the rhythm and groove of this track instantly start jamming in a lively & vibrantly energetic way that could actually even get some people DANCING along (albeit, still probably awkwardly) – but the main hooks of the chorus in this track are pretty much the textbook definition of what universal appeal is really all about.  As for Börje’s vocals, I’d also contend that he’s got one of his best performances on the mic on display here too – not only does he knock the main hooks of this track straight outta the park into next Tuesday, but throughout the song he retains the kind of tight focus that leads to exceptional results & unbreakable interest.  I think a lot of people out there listening will probably even find parallels between how he’s singing and what you’d hear in someone like Trent Reznor when he lightens up just that tiny bit to allow for more accessibility in his own dark & dank vibes.  All-in-all though, they’ve really got something here…to the point where I’d definitely be taking a very long look at all that’s going right for them on “The Dark (Part 2 Of Into Oblivion)” and doing my level best to figure out if this is the kind of cut that can illuminate their pathway forward from here as a band.  It’s got all the creativity you know and love from Reegonetti Band without question, and all the highlight instrumentation & solos that make’em great too – but the accessibility is enhanced ten-fold on this cut.  It’s tracks like “The Dark (Part 2 Of Into Oblivion)” that have your average everyday listeners out there forgetting for a moment that they’re listening to Progressive music, enjoying the entire experience for its spectacularly adventurous ideas, and ability to reach out through boldly accessible moments as well.

I’m probably more mixed in how I feel about “Liar’s Ball” than I am about any other track on the album.  It’s an ambitious track when it comes right down to it, and I admire that Reegonetti Band didn’t shy away from that to a degree, but I’m also not entirely sure they got to the heart of its maximum potential either.  It’s a case of what works well, works really well…and what doesn’t, becomes more noticeable as a result.  “Liar’s Ball” is likely the track where you’ll feel a bit of unevenness to its design in what you hear in the final cut.  That happens to the best of us – sometimes our ideas exceed our capabilities, sometimes they need to be reined in, sometimes they simply need more time in incubation, or an objective ear to explain what’s working and what’s not as best they can.  Once this track ticks past the halfway mark, I feel like “Liar’s Ball” surges into its prime throughout its more dedicated instrumental moments.  As for Börje’s vocals…don’t get me wrong, he’s got some great moments to be found on this tune, but it’s likely the singing that creates the imbalance in this track in its earlier half.  I don’t even mind the higher-up demands he’s put on his vocals…most of those I felt came out well enough – it ended up being the lower-key spots that would follow them that seemed like they were drained of the energy they needed, likely caused by the degree of difficulty that directly preceded those moments.  I also think that, in context of the way that “Liar’s Ball” begins, sometimes having a simpler part can work against Prog-based music too – as fans of the genre, we often hope and expect to find parts that are designed with the same amount of creativity as we find in the music, and I’d surmise that what we hear in the opening verses of “Liar’s Ball” seems a bit too obvious in terms of its melody/rhyme scheme in order to satisfy our ears with the cleverness we’re seeking out.  The middle of “Liar’s Ball,” where the rules and restrictions seem to get lifted…where the creativity, adventure, and imagination spring to life – that’s where Reegonetti Band excels and thrives in this particular instance.  I’m not saying there aren’t several reasons to tune into “Liar’s Ball” – I think there are plenty, and I still enjoy this song overall, but in the same breath, I’m capable of acknowledging that it’s a bit less developed in comparison to the rest.

When the going gets tough in the Progressive realm though, the tough add about twice the length in response – and you’ll find that’s exactly what they do to finish off Songs From The Raven’s Nest.  The finale of “Chicxulub” is nearly fifteen freakin’ minutes in length, or half of a regular album by Weezer for those of you out there keeping score.  What caught my eye instantly in writing this, was that “Chicxulub” didn’t set off my Microsoft spell-check alarms…which meant that this had to be a real word, and I’m always up for learning about something I have no idea about.  Apparently, a “Chicxulub” translates roughly from Mayan to “tail of the devil,” and it often refers to a specific crater that is “buried beneath a kilometer-thick sequence of sediments” – how cool is this!?!  Not only is it a freakishly cool-looking word, but this all sounds intensely badass by its description, and the song Reegonetti Band has put together gives it an equally enthralling & mysterious vibe to accompany it.  While sure, there’s an argument to be made that something like “Chicxulub” is more of an art-piece than it would be a traditional song to an extent, I dunno y’all…this is the kind of uniqueness and creativity I’m usually craving.  I get that something like “Chicxulub” isn’t going to be found on every playlist you’re ever going to make – tracks like these are very mood dependent, and they have a time & place in our lives where we’re generally more receptive to stuff like this…but I’ll be damned if this isn’t the kind of audible art I love to discover!  These are the tracks that genuinely get me outta bed each and every day…this is what I’m hoping to find…something daring, something different, something that pushes the boundaries of what we think we know into uncharted terrain.  “Chicxulub” digs DEEP into its ideas, and in my opinion, displays some of the most compelling material I’ve heard from Reegonetti Band, or any other band for that matter.  The layers upon layers of ideas they’ve unearthed in this final track are absolutely fantastic, and the efforts they’ve made to create this massive tune should honestly win them awards y’all.  To hear them go from the punishing darkness, to the sweetness of breaking through to the other side as they lighten things up past the ten-minute mark, is a straight-up glorious achievement…to think that we ended up here from where everything started, is nothing short of jaw-dropping.  From the music to the microphone, they’ve reserved the real fireworks of this album for its finale, and they’ve gone on to nail every solitary second of this 14:43 tune to complete and total perfection.  If that’s not an achievement, I truly don’t know what is y’all!  I could write essays about the exceptional art that Börje and Ronald have created on this last song.  It’s vividly cinematic, magnificently creative, powerfully thought-provoking, evocative, moving, and absolutely special by every conceivable definition – “Chicxulub” is a triumph for their creativity, authenticity, and unified vision for their sound…and a brilliant note to end the album on.

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"I’m passionate about what I do, and just as passionate about what YOU do. Together, we can get your music into the hands of the people that should have it. Let’s create something incredible."

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