Zarah - A Teartown Story
Label: Selfproduced
Available thru: ProgRock Records (US)
Available thru: Just For Kicks (Europe)

Progressive Metal
Rating: 90/100
Reviewed by:
Kenn Jensen
December '05

I guess Ricochet is a bit of a forgotten gem in the German progressive metal scene, after all their debut album "Among the Elements" dates back to 1996. Now they are back with their second album: a concept album called "Zarah - A Teartown Story". In the words of drummer Jan Keimer: "Put simply, it is about the short and painful life of a young girl – from her abuse as a child, through to the murder of the culprit, to her eventual suicide during her period in jail”.

Even though the band almost split up when the original vocalist and bass player left the band, the core of Ricochet continued to believe in their music, and kept going. And it's clear to hear that drummer Jan Keimer, keyboard player Björn Tiemann and guitarist Heiko Holler have been playing together for a great deal of time... But it wasn't until vocalist Christian Heise joined the ranks that things started to move in the right direction. Hans Strenge is completing the line-up on bass, and the result of more than 10 years of writing songs, writing more than 50 songs, of which 8 has made the final cut and made onto this impressive piece of metal.

The story about Zarah is musically an eventful and exciting journey that captures the listener for more than 70 minutes. A trip that leaves me stunned more than once... how can such a talented and great band be un-signed?

Diversity, complexity, intensity and melody are keywords for this quintet from Hamburg, and the whole album reeks of class. And it spans from the melancholic piano ballad: "Final Curtain", which at times reminds me of the atmosphere and mood of Dream Theater's "Space Dye-Vest", thru progressive smashers like "Cincinatti Road" and "The Red Line", before it all ends with the 18 minutes epic "A New Days Rising" - sort of their musical statement.

This collection of songs is very impressive, and I really wish some label - maybe InsideOut Music - would pick this band up! But don't wait for some label to pick them up - get your own copy now (links above) and sit back and enjoy the ride...

Recommended Tracks: "Disobedience", "Cincinatti Road", "Final Curtain", "The Red Line" & "A New Days Rising"