(France) - Issue # 110
By Didier Gonzalez
***** 5 STARS
ANYONE originates from an original vision from multi-talented American artist RIZ STORY, founded with Jon Davison (Yes) and Taylor Hawkins (Foo Fighters) in 1995 in Laguna Beach, California. Hawkins and Davison were replaced by the time the band signed with RoadRunner Records in 2000. The self-titled debut album was met with wide critical acclaimed.
In October 2016, the single “Fly Away” was featured in the first feature film by Riz Story, “A Winter Rose”, and became the most listened to rock track in America on digital formats, reaching number one on the DRT National Airplay Rock Chart. The release of the album “On the Ending Earth...” in 2020 was also met with unanimous critical acclaimed. Did ANYONE's founding member, RIZ STORY, invent a new kind of rock? In reality, this ambitious new sound can be to traced to all the music that it is derived from as ANYONE's new sound is a captivating synthesis of pre-existing musical elements. Like all iconic musical creations, this is not an overnight fusion. Riz explains: "The soundtrack to my feature film (and novel) is highly conceptual and dynamic. I've been working on it for almost a decade." This fourth studio album, IN HUMANITY, deserves to be praised for having made a qualitative leap since the third opus “On the Ending Earth...” was released in 2020.
IN HUMANITY represents a magnificent solo effort of virtuosity in terms of performance, production, mixing and mastering on the part of RIZ STORY. Story explains IN HUMANITY'S concept: "The story takes place in the future when humanity has made the earth uninhabitable and ventured into the cosmos to find a planet even more beautiful than the earth, which they immediately begin to destroy." Despite a volume of complex rhythmic signatures, tortuous arrangements and lyrics that push the limits of the mind, it is a music that is immediately appreciated. Its size and volume announce a genuine ambition, a very original and adventurous music, stimulating a cosmic experience that makes the journey exciting.
If originally ANYONE included a mix of alternative music, grunge and heavier metal, “On the Ending Earth…” (2020) represented an evolution, initiating a major shift in direction toward progressive rock, featuring touches of Rush and Led Zeppelin, among other influences. Today, regarding the compositional aspect, IN HUMANITY has reached full maturity; It is his most accomplished work to date whose transcendent inspiration animates the entire album, combined with great skill and technique.
The arrangements are very elaborate and the interpretations are delicate and precise throughout its 1h 42min length, accompanied by a crystalline sound. Musically, you can hear a powerful expression of heavy rock. Guitar sounds dominate the ensemble in an electric and acoustic mix, combined with piano, synthesizers and electronic elements to a lesser extent. In terms of the overall sonic mix, the voices appear mixed forward, as well as the percussive elements, where acoustic drums and electronics merge to perfection.
It takes some time to tame a work of this dimension.
“Elations” is ideal as an opening title, an exhilarating journey introducing the work to come. A catchy drum beat introduces “The Disappearing Everything”, with its fine-tuned piano stabs, psychedelic flights as well as incisive guitar riffs, refined by metallic sounds and generating a complex sound flow.
“Apocalypse” is presented in the form of an atmospheric ballad accompanied by the acoustic guitar, blending with a rhythm section that is in perpetual evolution. “Don't Swallow Tomorrow” features some Black Sabbath accents with its saturated guitars, heavy rhythm section and rough aggressive vocals.
“Misanthropist” gives Jon Davison the opportunity to contribute a guest lead vocal.
For the rest of the album, let's salute the quality and versatility of the songs of RIZ STORY. A very ambitious record, elaborated with precision, on which blows the wind of inspiration, made with high-end sonic standards.
An album that is well worth the time you will devote to it, extremely rewarding.
5 Out Of 5 Stars.