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Reaper - Stranger Than Fiction

Stranger Than Fiction
by Kevin Lewis at 09 December 2020, 7:18 PM

REAPER is a bit thrashy, a bit proggy. Formed in 2010 in Liverpool, England, they are a four-piece band and Stranger Than Fiction is their second full-length album. Originally intended as an EP, the pandemic gave them time and space to expand that to the LP we know today. Independently released on October 16, 2020, this is one of those records that will instantly make an impression on the listener.

This record is bookended by two instrumentals. “Event Horizon” leads the record off. At just over one minute, it is a non-musical little snippet of sound that uses news reporting on the fact fake news is now prevalent in the news world; not in those words, just the theme of it. This is a set-up for the rest of the record. “Walk The Sky”, at almost eight minutes, closes the record out. After a fade in to a moderate speed tune, it takes off and sprints along for a bit. Then some jazzy components and some spoken word and some variable speed material. Excellent close out.

“Sigil” is a fast-paced tune that chugs through the verses and weaves an intricate path to the chorus. Sprinting out of the gate, it has some fun little rhythm changes that give it a lot of flair. “Titan” starts with a nice doom-laden riff and some cool little guitar fills. Rather than the chugging pace previously displayed, this is slow and methodical, grinding you down under the lower tuning.

“Upon The Sun” and “Flight” both move away from the other songs. This is a varied record with a lot of talent and compositional skill. “Upon The Sun” has a really good interlude halfway through and “Flight” begins with an almost Flamenco style acoustic guitar intro before pummeling you with a heavy riff and dark tone.

“Jericho” starts hard and heavy. There are a few quick tempo changes that make this a song that basically shows off both the thrash and prog elements REAPER possess. This is not QUEENSRYCHE or DREAM THEATER prog, instead, it’s their own flavor. Similarly, “Afterlife” closes out the lyric songs with a more melodic bent, but still holding on to the elements that make this band unique in their own right.

REAPER have a lot of things going for them. They write songs that sound good, the composition being pleasant to the ears. The musicianship is definitely up there with many of the better bands of today. The drummer can hold down the rhythm or keep up with the guitars at their fastest pace. The bass hangs out at times, adding ambient tones to the overall tune at other times. The guitars play well with each other, no obvious clashing of one trying to dominate the song. The vocalist has a good range and can hit some impressive notes.

The overall production is good. The mix sounds right. This is definitely one of the records that sounds right because the band took the time to get it right and had the proper people manning the controls on the recording/ mixing/engineering. In a year when it was difficult to get together and work on something as a group, these guys managed to succeed. Well done!

Songwriting:  8
Musicianship:  8
Memorability:  7
Production:  8

4 Star Rating

1. Event Horizon
2. Sigil
3. The Titan
4. Upon The Sun
5. Flight
6. Jericho
7. Afterlife
8. Walk The Sky
Daniel Moran – Vocals/Guitar
Elliott Kyriakides – Bass
Anthony Longworth – Drums
Anthony Capitano – Guitar
Record Label: Independent


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