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RC2 RC2
Review by Tonny larz @ 3:28:21 PM EST, 2004-03-13

— NOW..this is my first! Prog record from Venezuela that is! Musea has done it again..put out another GEM!! With the opening track: "Oberatura" (Overture) the path is laid and in a great way. The songs are sung in spanish by Dugue and im afraid i dont know a word of spanish...but its delivered nice and Dugue knows his limits (he´s not a James La Brie) but he manages to pull it off. The guys to mention here is Guitarist Demian and keyboardplayer Rafael. Their interplay and soloing are superb....specially in the instrumental songs: "RM" and " Fria"..ok..ok the drummer and bass player are quite capable too. In all these guys are great...and its nice to hear such well produced prog and from Venezuela to boot!! Dugue is best in the slower moments as his voice embraces the songs better in those. On "Fria" you can hear just what a great guitarist Demian are!! Overall this record, is a fine examble of prog coming from South America. As i said the production are top notch!! As is the music.The compositions in upper class. Comparisons are supposedly...Enchant.Arena.Marillion. I think that these guys are unique...they may sound like the afore mentioned.. but there is more..much more to them than that!! My friend Leo gave this to me..and im ever greatfull!!! Thanx mate!! The rest of you.....two words: GET IT !!! Its an absolute stunner. And yes...they do deserve the 5 star rating. - http://www.progarchives.com


Ce n'est pas tous les jours que l'on peut découvrir un nouveau groupe vénézuélien. C'est donc le premier opus pour rc2 dont les musiciens ne sont pas des bleus pour autant. Et, çà s'entend!

Après la superbe "Obertura" instrumentale, on plonge dans un heavy rock progressif alternant entre passages planants et rock plus typé Rush avec "Joroprog". Douceur et voix débutent "Nada" avant d'être emmené, par un solo de guitare aux accents de Marillion, vers une superbe finale.

"Fria" démarre sur des bases génésiennes remontant à "Nurcery Cryme" voire "Trespass" avant qu'un duo piano/basse nous transportent vers le coeur du morceau. Eclatement du solo de guitare et enchaînement sur un rock "purple" suivi de douceur sur fond piano/chant et direction la finale grandiose. Nous sommes en présence d'une des pièces maîtresse de cet opus! Elle atteindra les 14 minutes.

"Gira la Tierra" et "Soledad" sont également des titres forts. Ce dernier rappellera le thème d'ouverture de l'album.

Enfin, cet opus se termine par une autre pièce de haute qualité : "Se Pierde el Sol". Elle nous emmène d'ambiances douces et planantes vers l'explosion d'un solo de guitare "extasiaque" dont le guitariste semble détenir le secret. En fait, il s'agira même de plusieurs soli, tantôt techniques et heavy metal, tantôt très mélodiques avec un passage à la Rothery. Finale en apothéose! Plus de 14 minutes de bonheur.

Un album hautement recommandable à tous les fans de rock progressif de style Marillion ou Rush voire même Dream Theater. - Music in Belgium, http://www.musicinbelgium.net


Sing to me, Venezuela…. Sorry. That doesn’t sound right. Prog-metal groups continue to come out of the woodwork; newer prog-metal (or “heavy-prog”) groups from South America and Asia (mainly Japan) aren’t very original, at all. Argentina’s Angra made waves and enjoyed some intense popularity for a bit (and still do, apparently). The latest subject for intense scrutiny comes courtesy of Musea, that grand bastion of many genres of muzick, mammoth quantities of progressive rock notwithstanding. Venezuela’s RC2 (yup, Spanish vox) are a 5tet in the typical vocals/guitars/keyboards/bass/drums cast—Félix Duque, Demian Mejicano, Rafael Paz, Pedro Misle, Eduardo Benatar, respectively. Duque’s vocals are described as “high-pitched” in Musea’s cover letter, so cringe-inducing examples from the Hall Of Nutless Wonders immediately come to mind. Let us proceed:

RC2 begins with a three-minute “Obertura” (Overture), basically a synthetic orchestral arrangement of the pomp sort that sounds a bit like Miramar-era Tangerine Dream or latter-day Vangelis, of all things. The very energetic “Joroprog” isn’t heavy enough to really qualify for prog-metal. Mejicano doesn’t ride the crunchwagon throughout the track’s entirety (and then, only for rhythm). Duque’s Andre Matosesque delivery sounds a tad strained when he reaches for those higher-octave notes (good thing he doesn’t make a habit of it). “Nada” (Nothing) is something: Duque croons in 4/4 over a programmed 6/8 backing—full band at 2:34. The tasteful guitar solo isn’t too over-the-top and doesn’t trash the established vibe (and Duque sticks to midrange, thank goodness!). Paz switches to a great analog lead for “Sombras” (Shadows) and judiciously peppers his line with piano and organ bits. This track has much more in common with Arena than Threshold—the synth intro instantly brings to mind Clive Nolan and his quasi-Banks/Bardens right-hand leads. The mix is silenced midway through and Paz plays a sweet Mellotron strings sample. So far, nothing too formulaic, and definitely not boring.

“RM” is the 2nd of three instrumentals. As Paz has taken much liberty to shine (since he’s the primary writer), this is Mejicano’s showcase, a delicate finger-picked acoustic guitar number. That respite is perfectly timed, because Paz is back in no time with a crankin’ dirty organ lead on “Fria” (Cold), and the other guys burn it up, too—Paz and Mejicano are a great whirlwind pairing. [Misle’s bass is a bit buried, sadly…a chronic problem for bass players.] Vocals on “Fria” actually don’t come in until after a complete fadeout at six minutes, when Paz fingers his baby grand sample; as this cut runs a whopping fourteen minutes in length, the first 6min. should’ve been indexed as another instrumental. The vocal portion is a straightahead smooth-rock number and nothing special—save a nice Claptonesque solo—until the very passionate outro. “Gira la Tierra” (The Earth Turns) shifts into an authentically prog-metal scheme; adversely, it turns out to be the most formulaic cut! Paz helps to keep things interesting and then some.

More rabbits are pulled out of the proverbial top hat on the last three tracks: the spacey intro and electronic percussion on “Soledad” (Solitude); Mejicano’s 2nd solo spot, “Voz de Tempestad” (Voice of Tempest), consisting of multitracked acoustic arpeggiations and an overdubbed electric lead; and the ’70-flavored, epic-length* symphonic closer, “Se Pierde el Sol” (Losing The Sun), with its bluesy shifts owing to Vaughn, Page, and Roeser (and one final scorching synth solo). *No index point required!

Well, surprise, surprise. The comparisons to Shadow Gallery and Dream Theater aren’t far off, but aren’t exactly on the money (glad I didn’t make ‘em). No nutless-wonder screeching, no tendencies to overplay, a pair of epics, and about 40% of the disc is instrumental. Hot playing, too. Rafael Paz—who’s brought his electronic-music influences to the table—might be lower South America’s best keysman since Apocalypse’s Eloy Fritsch—RC2 is nowhere near as banal-sounding as that band’s albums, either. The band self-produced, so kudos to the guys' sharp arrangements (RC2 rose from the ashes of Radio Clip, who recorded four albums betwee 1988 and 1994, so these guys aren’t novices). If RC2 plays its cards properly (and since Musea was impressed enough with their 3-track demo), they could be the next big thing in South America. There’s no score for ± 3.75, so I’ll round it up to quatro. Fans of Arena, Threshold, Enchant, Angra, Time Machine, even old school Marillion and Genesis: bury your insecurities over non-English vocals and give RC2 a fair shake! I’m impressed.

- http://www.seaoftranquility.org


Venezuelan Prog is getting a lot of praise lately. And the truth is that it deserves to be this way. After last year’s Tempano and Raimundo Rodulfo excellent releases, 2003 has brought us Pig Farm on the Moon and now RC2. It seems that, despite not having a very strong prog tradition, the few projects that we are able to get acquainted with coming from that South American corner are all winners! And that fully applies to the debut release of RC2.
Though being quite easy to listen, this album does have its fair share of complexity and craftsmanship. The music swirls between hard, Neo, 70’s flavored and South American Sympho, always with notable quality.
The high pitched vocals, sung in Spanish, may remind you of Shadow Gallery but the music is also close to that of Rush, early Marillion and (why not) even Yes. Nevertheless there are instrumental moments where the band’s music can be compared to that of latest (and excellent) Shadow Gallery’s Legacy.
What RC2 propose here is a vast collection of solutions, ideas and reminiscences, well hidden inside the freshness and vitality of their prog. A progressive rock album with capital letters, for there is no shadow of doubt that this band does know what they are playing and they show the character and spirit of the best prog bands in the active.
While obviously symphonic, their music is hard most of the times, driven by the potent drumming and excellent guitar work. The keyboards, when taking control of the actions, counterbalance this attitude with easily recognizable Marillionesque sounds some of the times, but very enjoyable atmospheric and even eerie soundscapes other times.
It is a joy to listen to the way the band has carefully worked out its music, showing that they know how to develop the good ideas. I find always rewarding to discover a new band that does not only show to have talent and ideas, but know how to embrace those ideas and transform them into fully blossomed tracks. This is the case with RC2.
To sum the parts, South America seems to be gaining back its place in the Progressive Scene, as a provider of great recordings and exquisite bands that urge to be discovered. With RC2, Musea has done a secure and, I totally believe this, swell discover. For this band fully deserves the attention and, I am sure, will please a great specter of prog fans around the world. So if you recognize your tastes in the lines I just wrote, do yourself a favor and go get this one. - www.proggnosis.com


La pequeña pero admirable escena progresiva y sinfónica venezolana, nos ha regalado en lo que va del 2003, dos grandes trabajos. Primero fue Raimundo Rodulfo con "The Dreams Concerto", y ahora los jóvenes de RC2 con "Same".


La banda está compuesta por Félix Duque en las voces, Benatar en la batería, Mejicano en guitarras, Misle en bajo y Rafael Paz en teclados, quienes en su mayoría formaron parte en los ´80 de la agrupación "Radio Clip", para hoy, una vez conformada la banda en su totalidad, gestar un disco contundente desde el inicio sinfónico, casi épico con "Oberturo".


"Joroprog", el segundo tema, combina la potencia del neo-progresivo en la guitarra con sonidos autóctonos del Altiplano, resultando maravilloso para quienes admiramos la mezcla y fusión de estilos de diferentes regiones.


RC2 puede ser identificada como una banda sinfónica desde ya, pero con tintes clásicos, finos y claros dignos del histórico sinfónico italiano de bandas como Premiata Forneria Marconi, Le Orme y Malibrán, pero con el agregado heavy del neo-progresivo.


Siguiendo con el CD, se destacan también la electrizante y ciclotímica "Sombras"; "RM", un solo acústico fenomenal a cargo de Mejicano a lo Steve Hackett en "Horizon"; la "Wakemaniana" y frutilla del postre, "Fría", de espectacular base rítmica e impecable solos de teclados a cargo de Paz. Finalizando destaco además "Gira la Tierra", de lo mas oscuro del disco; "Soledad", de una base electrónica aceptable y diferente a todas las antes mencionadas, y por último la popera "Se Pierde el Sol".


"Same" es un álbum parejo y redondo por donde se lo mire. Altamente recomendable para todos aquellos degustadores de la buena música. Ya que RC2 es sólo para entendidos
- http://www.planeta-rock.com.ar


Very much a first for me - a progressive rock band from Venezuela - but yet again RC-2 proves that it really can pay to be brave and try something new.

RC2 was formed in Caracas during 1999 following the collapse of Radio Clip who released four albums in Venezuela between 1988 and 1994. Wanting to be more than a Radio Clip spin-off band, Felix Duque (vocals), Eduardo Benatar (drums), Arturo Torres (base) and Demian Mejicano (guitar) contacted keyboardist Rafael Paz in a bid to create a complete change of musical style.

Citing Marillion, Yes, Rush, Genesis and Camel as major influences, with a new bassist in Pedro Misle they soon formed under the RC2 name and after producing a few demos, attracted the interest of Alexis Lope Bello, a talent scout who has introduced various Venezuelan bands to Musea. After learning the news, the five musicians and producer Francisco Diaz entered the studio to begin recording their debut album.

The album begins with a three-minute Obertura (Overture). This has a nice melody that builds from piano introduction to a synth orchestral arrangement of the pomp variety. Unfortunately the melody is a bit wasted as the track just fades out, instead of building to a climax.

Into the album proper then and the energetic Joroprog is a great opener and my favourite track. As in most of what is follow, it's nowhere near heavy enough to qualify for Prog-metal. Mejicano doesn't ride the crunchwagon. His guitar being used more for background rhythm than being the main attraction. However this track really does show the quality of songwriting that the band has produced - the listener is switched between two musical themes; there's some clever interplay between guitar and keyboards in the solo department; there's a nice atmospheric midsection and most importantly the instruments (including some traditional south American ones) are varied throughout, giving an ever changing sound to the band.

Duque's delivery is great. I just love the way the Spanish roll certain words off the tongue. On the very high notes his voice is a bit strained but thankfully he doesn't go in that direction too often - sticking to a level where the warmth and energy of his voice shines through.

Nada (Nothing) is another favourite. Duque croons delicately over a slightly dark, programmed backing. Then a third of the way in, enters the full band and a captivating guitar solo, before Duque refrains the opening hook, but at a more urgent pace.

The one track I can't stand on the album is Sombras, mainly because I just can't get away from the thought that it sounds like something out of the Eurovision Song Contest. The phrasing, heavy use of the synths and the general corny vibe to it, just reeks of the sort of thing that some eastern European country would get 'Nil points' for.

RM and Fria (cold) is a pair of very different instrumentals. The first is Mejicano's showcase, a delicate finger-picked acoustic guitar number. The second is Paz's chance to shine and since he's the primary writer then it's quite a bit longer. It opens with a dirty, 60's organ lead before the rest of the guys join in to recall burn it up with some roller coaster, whirlwind pairing. Again the interplay between guitars and keys is great as is the development of a couple of nice melodic themes.

I call this an instrumental, as the vocals on Fria actually don't come in until after a complete fadeout at six minutes - eventually running to a whopping 14 minutes in length (really the first six minutes should've been indexed as another instrumental). The vocal portion is a more straightforward classic rock number - featuring a lovely Mark Knopfler-style solo - that eventually builds into the heaviest track on offer.

So far so good - especially, in that the band is not following any set formulas. They are happy to mix up the styles and the mood but somehow manage to keep a central theme and style of their own that holds it all together.

More rabbits are pulled out of the hat on the last four tracks. Gira la Tuierra takes a more neo-prog approach that brings to mind Sylvan and Ricocher. The song is based in a beautiful rolling piano melody with more great interplay between guitar and keys in the instrumental mid-section.

A spacey atmosphere with electronic percussion greets the start of Soledad (Solitude) before Duque's somewhat pained vocals come in (I guess it's quite a sad lyric?). Quite balladic, it doesn't stray to far from the opening melody - although the backing gives it quite a grand, Floyd-ian sound.

Mejicano's second brief solo spot is Voz de Tempestad (Voice of Tempest) before we close with the album's longest track Se Pierde el Sol (Losing The Sun). If epic, symphonic, progressive rock is your scene, then this will have more than enough to hold your interest though its 14 minutes - it's quite bluesy in a Led Zep sorta way as well.

I've read a few other reviews that have pinned the obligatory Dream Theater label on this band. Don't be silly! While there is the occasional rockin' moment, there's not a crunchy guitar or screech to be found here. Plenty of hot playing - Rafael Paz must be up there in the 'Tinkling the ivories league table' - and the songwriting and musical arrangements are from the top draw. And as it's all sung in Spanish, then I'm sure, for those who can understand, there's a whole extra dimension to be had from the lyrics as well.

The band has self-produced this disc and top marks for a sharp sound. There's also a cool picture of a lunar eclipse taken by Spanish photographer Juan Carlos Casado to brighten up the sleeve.

So overall, a great surprise and a very enjoyable listen. If Musea can get themselves behind this band I'm sure they will soon be a big name, much further afield than their home country. They're not easy to pidgeonhole for me, but fans of Arena, Enchant, Satellite and even old school Marillion and Genesis should find enough rewards if you're brave enough to try something new. Impressive stuff!
- Dutch Progressive Rock Page


10/04/2005

Mondosonoro

Septiembre 2005

"Tras iniciar su carrera conjunta en Venezuela en 1999, los componentes de RC2 se trasladan a Barcelona en octubre del pasado año, trayendo consigo si cuidado y elegante rock sinfónico-progresivo. Ésta es la reedición de su primer y hasta ahora único disco, un trabajo en el que se muestran capacitados para abordar con éxito los parámetros habituales del género, así como algunas interesantes incursiones en la fusión."

por Xavier Llop - Mondosonoro


Discography

RC2
June 2003
Musearecords
www.musearecords.com

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Fusion, intensity and melody, blend the primary elements from this cohesive progressive rock band. RC2 brings the right amount of ingredients to take the style to a new ground, including rhythmic fusion elements along with the classic melodies.

RC2 was formed in Caracas, Venezuela (South America) during 1999 as a result of two events: the guts and heart to play the style of music that always ruled the soul of the band members, and Radio Clips dissolution. Radio Clip was an emblematic band that released four albums in Venezuela between 1988 and 1994, selling thousands of albums and concerts across the country.

Citing Marillion, Yes, Rush, Genesis and Camel as major influences: Felix Duque (vocals), Eduardo Benatar (drums), Arturo Torres (bass) and Demian Mejicano (guitar) contact Rafael Paz (keyboards) in order to work on what will be the perfect marriage of astonishing instrumentals and vocals that can mute any sound that is outside the melody.

The band, wrote in only two weeks what they foresaw would be the recording material for a demo. However, the project had to be called off when Arturo Torres left to live in the States for personal reasons.

The band came to a complete halt. Then, on December 1999, the four remaining members decided to take in Pedro Misle (bass player and Eduardo Benatars band mate in the rock band Luz Verde) and enliven the project, now officially under the RC2 name.

Two months later, they recorded their first three-song-demo which included: Nada (Nothing), Sombras (Shadows) and Gira la Tierra (The Earth Turns). The demo was presented to various connoisseurs of the genre and earned good notices.

During the year 2000, relying on the critics good reaction, they recorded two more demos. These were then presented to the prestigious French label Musea Records through Alexis Lope Bello, a talent scout who has introduced over the years the work of various Venezuelan bands to Musea. The response was overwhelming; the record label was determined to release RC2s first album.

After learning the news, the five musicians and producer Francisco Diaz entered a modern studio to begin recording the album in late 2001. By June 2002, the album was completed and the job of finding a cover art concept for the production began.

An excellent picture of a lunar eclipse taken and generously lent by Spanish photographer Juan Carlos Casado conveyed exactly what the band wanted to portray with their music.

After graphic designer Daniela Troconis gave the finishing touches, the artwork was ready and delivered to Musea. The first album was released June 2003 earning incredible reviews from progressive rock institutions and fans across the globe:

A progressive rock album with capital letters www.proggnosis.com

The song writing and musical arrangements are from the top draw Dutch Progressive Rock Page

Un album hautement recommandable à tous les fans de rock progressif de style Marillion ou Rush Music in Belgium, http://www.musicinbelgium.net

The band moved to Barcelona, Spain in October 2004, again with four of the original members, their guitar player (Demian Mejicano) left the band to pursue a solo project. A new guitar player was brought in (Mauricio Berroeta) who has been a new force of inspiration to get a more straight forward and crude sound, taking their music to a new exciting level.

They are currently recording its second album, experimenting with new rhythmic fusions and organic sounds that will expand their melodic style to the limits of this limitless genre. The album is expected to be released next year; RC2 is touring across Spain and Europe. And just a final word of advice, you dont want to miss the live experience of this band; you havent seen Progressive Rock played like this

For more information, news, tour dates, photos, fans and everything RC2 related log on to:

http://www.myspace.com/rc2prog