(OOC) Review: One Night of Roc

Yeah, this has been a long time coming. Some of you may fondly remember my review of Roc‘s first album release from my old blog, and I certainly fondly remember listening to his first album over and over. The physical aspect of that CafePress purchase (which I still need to get signed…) has now been replaced with a purely digital purchase from iTunes. Fitting for a capuleer, one would think (though if I were to throw my esoteric weight around I would think capsuleers would covet physical manifestations of their identity).

What has also been changed is the tone of the overall work. The first album told the story of Roc’s slavery, rebellion, freedom and mantle-uptaking. The title Bio was well-chosen. One Night of Roc seems to focus on his present fame, which constitutes the overall meat or his writing efforts.

Now for the play-by-play… or rather the track-by-track.

A Jita Welcome – The sounds of the crowd are well done and I really enjoy the hard thumping line, but even though later it takes on some Bear McCreary Battlestar Galactica-esque trappings, the track is way too long and doesn’t really go anywhere. A track lasting 4:54 needs to go somewhere.

I need Some Love – I was an enormous fan of the last track on Bio, mostly because the vocals were such a welcome surprise. Here we have Roc’s first vocals for this album. The track comes off as fairly reminiscent of one of a dozen Miami-based Latino bar bands from the late 90s featuring bits of Carlos Santana-ish riffs. The main gripe about this track is that it is just one refrain repeated at the beginning and at the end. I was again hoping for more.

Rain of Love (Part 1) – More vocals, and this time a full track’s worth. Again we get the audience sounds as this is supposed to simulate a complete live performance (not unlike a concert album). The beginning track reminds me of when Metallica goes acoustic at some summer outdoor festivals when things get mellow. It’s deep and provocative. Then it goes very much to the same place that the previous track went, which I have to say is now reminding be fully of Rob Thomas with a dash of something not unlike alternative rock. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, as it is a good track, but I would have preferred this one follow the acoustical styles found at the beginning. The lyrics are passionate and powerful, and you can picture Roc in the pouring rain with a woman trying to convince her to stay (Mynxee, perhaps?).

Border Zone – I don’t dig this at all. It sounds like the opening to a teeny-bopper track. If Roc was a high-school kid emo-ing out that the girl he’s crushing on is going out with the pretty guy and we now have to watch him running a colourful amok around a mall with his friends, then this would fit. WTF.

Be My Little Girl – OK this is something to samba to, and while I am not quite sure where this is all coming from, it’s starting to grow on me. The lyrics are there but there’s too little of it once again. I know Roc can lay down a phat beat (yes I said phat) now but I am aching for creative lyrics! Roc is a writer, right? This could have been epically sexy. Brutor know sexy, right?

Sacrifice – This track certainly stands out from the rest of the album. Dark chocolate piano work. Lyrics are poignant though there are still pacing gaps left by the lack of lyrics. The female voice found here is just as talented as Roc’s and deserves high praise. Duet work is notoriously hard to do for amateurs, and even worse to work with in post-production so I am blown away.

Rain of Love (Part 2) – A slightly different take on Rain of Love. Personally if this had been worked in as a downshift in the first part, and then upshifted back to the norm, I think it would have been FAR more awesome.

Wormholed – BIG shift to a hard/epic rock guitar riff. Not very fast but extremely grungy. If i had to peg a reference I’d certainly go towards Powerman 5000 and his track The End Is Over, which is great because I love this sound. This is a tad more industrial at points but I think it’s an interesting acoustic experiment and a lot of fun to listen to.

Intermission – The band takes a break, throws on a recording while the crew gets everything set for the second half, and people hit the vendors. Very cute. I kinda wish I could hear people talking about New Eden stuff…

A Better Life – The band is back with a bang. This is certainly along the vein of hard alt rock bands like Three Days Grace. Heavy on the guitar strings. A good energy track.

EVE Rock 6 – Continuing of the energy of the previous track, this one is a little bit more aerial at the opening, but shifts down at times into something resembling a really good driving game/movie audio track. Heroic in tone and adventurously pressing in timing. Well done.

Brutor Thunder – Oh noes, the Brutors have set up a mosh pit! An awesome hardline track, but I think Roc’s voice didn’t match the tone. Normally there are two ways of singing to something like this, raspy or operatically. Think Corey Taylor from Slipknot or Serge Tankian from System of A Down. Roc is a tad too melodic to really pull off the grunge aspect here, though I think he was aiming for Johnathan Davis from Korn. The music slightly overshoots him. Also, with other tracks, the lyrics are lacking not in skill, but in simple amount.

Minmatar 005 – The track alone is pretty good, following the same tone as the previous three, but because it’s short and because there are no lyrics to really put a stamp on it, it feels like something that should have been cut out or otherwise reworked. Non-lyrical tracks need to work that much harder to separate themselves from each other. I used to listen to artists like Yanni a lot and when his tracks started to sound too much like each other, I stopped listening and stopped caring. A definite pitfall Roc should avoid.

One Night Of – Another non-lyrical track, but luckily not too similar to the earlier ones (close though). This one is screaming for lyrics though. This one has a more tribal tone to it that would have gone great with some “Minmatar” lyrics. What do I think Minmatar sounds like? Probably a cross between Klingon, Draconic and Ancient Icelandic.

RealXStasy – If Powerman 5000 went on a tribal kick, the result could be something like this. Too electronic to really get the tribal essence to come alive in any way, but I think can see the kind of balance that was trying to be achieved here. The timing is not unlike Daft Punk’s work. Not a perfect track, but certainly one of my favorite on the album. What is interesting is that at the end the audience starts clamoring for an encore, which they get in…

Legend – An interesting guitar riff with a little electronic thrown in, but not long enough to be a piece of it’s own.

Introspection – I just realized that the levels on the audience from one track to another really don’t sync at all. Anyways, the audience is still begging for encores. First we get Introspection, which is a new play off the last any my favorite track from Bio. I still absolutely love it and I think this new version is great. A little more fleshed out.

Bootleg Love – The third and final encore. If I were to say this track is a little more groovy and nightlife then I wouldn’t be entirely off the mark, though it isn’t exactly sharing the audio space perfectly well with the rock. It can be done, but it’s tricky. Again an oddly short track that could have been better than most of the rest of the album if it were more fleshed out and not used as an “encore”.

In the end it’s some good hits and some easy misses. There are some multi-million dollar artists and groups out there that make these kinds of flubs and are usually far too full of themselves to do anything about it at that point. Roc is a growing artist who has always looked to each and every one of his fans to give him the honest truth of his successes and faults in order for Roc to grow. Is this album worth the buy? Absolutely. It is  perfect? No. Honestly I still prefer Bio. Roc has a wonderful career ahead of him, and if all his fans were to add their two cents, he’d be a very rich man, and we’d be richer for it. So comment here and tell me if you think I’m on the mark or off my rocker.

~ by psychediver on 07/08/2010.

One Response to “(OOC) Review: One Night of Roc”

  1. Well, I did ask for brutal honesty, and there it is. Much appreciated and I do hope you continue to listen to the album.

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