Rizon – Prime Time (Pure Steel Records)

Monday, 14th March 2022
Rating: 8 / 10

Containing seven members, Rizon is a rarity in today’s heavy music scene to find a melodic hard rock/power-oriented act with such a large framework. Using male/female vocals, dual guitarists, plus keyboards, bass, and drums – this fifth album Prime Time allows these musicians to expand their musical vocabulary, executing a wider array of combinations that keep the proceedings fresh, diverse, and addictive. One member change occurred in the six-year period between records as vocalist Anastasia Panagiotou joined the fold in 2020, and given this scribe’s first exposure to the group, there’s plenty to digest, raise fists, and catch attention due to solid vocal interplay, smart musical underpinning, plus extended attention to the smaller details for long-term retention.

While the main vocals have a clean, theatrical nature that flex between modern hard rock and heavy metal avenues, the occasional grit and aggressive measures allow for dramatic, dynamic swings to carry “Torn” into a mesmerizing arrangement. A calmer, acoustic ballad like “Time Till Kingdom Come” channels a Blind Guardian-ish charm with tremendous duet harmonies from Anastasia and fellow singer Matthias Götz (he has the goosebump factor in many ending notes). Triumphant keyboard parts collide headlong into a beefy bass/guitar parade during “Save My Soul” – a seven-minute plus outing that includes a contrasting narrative element midway through and killer instrumental sequences that make this Queensrÿche meets Pretty Maids-like track very moving. At other times the group explore more commercial terrain as far as modern rock chord progressions, larger, anthem-like choruses and add in organ/bass flourishes for “High Noon”, very akin to more North American-oriented acts like Halestorm or Kobra and the Lotus. Hitting hard with musical hooks and knowing when to pull back and go full force creates that dynamic, hang on a thread aspect that allows “Back to the Game” to be a latter half winner, the fluctuating groove to double kick tempo and clean/gritty vocal transformations ideal. The only misfire may be the obvious ‘woah-oh’ background vocals and cringe-worthy title “F*ckin’ Rock It”, despite the positive nature to the main lyrics.

Teaming up with one of the best producers in the world Jacob Hansen, Rizon have an album that should gain appeal, especially for those who love the recent work of Dynazty, Pretty Maids, and others in the melodic hard rock/metal spectrum.

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