Ride the Sky - _New Protection_
(Nuclear Blast, 2007)
by: Yiannis Stefanis (3.5 out of 10)
Uli Kusch is a musician that needs few introductions. The fact that he has performed skinsman duties in some of the most prestigious modern metal bands, like Helloween, Gamma Ray and Masterplan, would have alone been enough of a motivation for me to look forward to listening to any of his many musical renderings. Still, I have to admit that I was particularly curious to listen to the works of his latest musical project Ride the Sky, knowing that a huge part of the songwriting process would have been handled by himself. I began listening to the twelve track promo of _New Protection_ as soon as it arrived on my doorstep, but I’m afraid that the result of my 'relationship' with this album was more or less disastrous.

I believe that the main reason why _New Protection_ failed to impress me was the fact that it lacked coherence and clear musical vision. I was quite pleased by the band's attempt to release something more interesting and challenging than the average power metal album, something that most bands do nowadays, and their goal of combining the force of heavy, most often low-chorded, rhythmical guitar riffs with melodic keyboard melodies was indeed quite noble; but their basic mistake seems to have been in providing the right 'dosage' to each composition. You often find the guitars struggling to come to the 'surface' of each composition, and when they do, they are basically forced to play a supporting role to some of the most annoying Euro-power keyboard melodies you could ever come across. This means that compositions like "A Smile From Heaven's Eye" and "Corroded Dreams" may appeal to fans of bands like Stratovarius, but even they should find it quite a difficult task to digest the horribly cheesy melodies that are presented in the terribly average "Far Beyond the Stars".

Some of the band's more experimental compositions, like the classically-themed "Endless" and the slightly progressive "Black Cloud", sound far more pleasing. But the real irony is that Ride the Sky are at the top of their game only when they choose to invest in the classic hard rock formulas, leaving songs like the title track, "Silent War" and "The End of Days" with the difficult task of salvaging the whole project.

I understand that I sound totally disappointed here, but that's because much as I try to find a good excuse that would convince me to listen to this release in the near future, I somehow don't see how this is possible. There is no question about the quality of the musicians that have participated in this project, because that will become evident from the very first spin of this CD; it is the overall feeling that's disappointing!

Contact: http://www.ridethesky.eu/

(article published 9/9/2007)


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