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Rendezvous Point – Universal Chaos

Rendezvous Point
Universal Chaos
by Santiago Puyol at 03 July 2019, 2:28 PM

Coming from Kristiansand, Norway, and formed in late 2010, RENDEZVOUS POINT is a Progressive Rock/Metal band. With a sound that fuses traditional elements of Classic Prog and Prog Metal with modern sounds and aesthetics, this band releases their second album "Universal Chaos", following the 2015 debut "Solar Storm". RENDEZVOUS POINT opt for relatively "short" songs here, with nine tracks ranging from four to six minutes, resulting in an accessible 43-minute album.

"Apollo" acts as a cautious entry point, taking the time to introduce the listener to the album. With a sound strongly marked by Alternative Rock influences, melodic and with soft guitars at the beginning, it is pleasing to the ear. There is an excellent build-up of the drums, while the countdown samples construct a very particular atmosphere, just like the synthesizers. The latter evoke the work of BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME in "Automata", adding depth to the song.

Two great influences, particularly different, can be perceived throughout the album. The most expected is DREAM THEATER, especially notable in the title track and in "Digital Waste", the latter a singular mixture of the sound of the giants of Prog and electronic elements. A great guitar solo, courtesy of Petter Hallaråker, introduces middle eastern sonorities in "Digital Waste", while in "Universal Chaos" Nicolay Tangen Svennæs excels with a 70s-inspired synthesizer solo.

The second influence is less predictable but runs through much of the vocal melodies and even some of the softer instrumental sections of the album. Sting, particularly in his time with THE POLICE, seems to be a conscious or unconscious reference point for RENDEZVOUS POINT's songwriting. It is particularly notorious in the most pop-y track of the album, "Pressure", even including breakdown very much a là THE POLICE in the most ethereal moments of albums like "Ghost in the Machine" or "Synchronicity".

"Universal Chaos" is an album full of inspired decisions from the band. One of them is placing two of the album's most epic and dramatic songs in the middle of the tracklist. "The Fall" and "The Takedown" stand out for the use of the piano as a central instrument. The first one quickly introduces a watery piano line that it maintains throughout its duration, serving as a counterpoint to the rest of the melodies. "The Takedown" use the piano more as embellishments of the composition, with a jazzier and more classical influence.

Introducing a punkier, grittier sound, "Unfaithful" brings to mind NINE INCH NAILS with its nasty, catchy riffing and more direct and aggressive vocal style. The incorporation of a little screaming is a successful choice from vocalist Geirmund Hansen. The rhythm is simpler and more direct, with the bass drum pulsating throughout the song.

The band takes a mellower path to album closure, with two of the softest but most complex songs. "Resurrection" stands out in particular for the use of syncopation and time signature changes, bringing to mind bands like THE REIGN OF KINDO or THANK YOU SCIENTIST in their most delicate and soulful moments. It is a highlight of the album for bassist Gunn-Hilde Erstad and drummer Baard Kolstad, whom the production favors with a warmer and more natural sound, emphasizing their sense of groove and melody. Kolstad is no stranger to Prog, coming from LEPROUS, but it is great to hear him covering a little different ground.

"Undefeated" is a great closer, with Post-Punk vibes, particularly reminiscent of the softer side of TEARS FOR FEARS, having an interesting and textured, reverb-drenched, guitar work. Kolstad makes great use of tom-toms and snare to create tension, released in an explosive, final chorus. It is a powerful ending track despite being relatively gentle. Hansen repeating the line "We are a thousand voices screaming for equality, and we are stronger, stronger" almost as a mantra is strong and emotional, especially in today's complex world.

RENDEZVOUS POINT stands out in "Universal Chaos" for their inspired songwriting, impeccable instrumental technique and the mighty voice of Hansen. The fusion of diverse elements and sounds makes this album easy to enjoy despite its complexity. Unfortunately, the album suffers from a somewhat boxy and noisy production, mostly in the heaviest moments, feeling a little sterile and with the rhythm section being the most harmed by it. It opens up a little towards the end of the album, giving the instruments the necessary breathing space.

All in all, the band delivers an excellent album with "Universal Chaos", one that deserves repeated listening.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 7

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Apollo
2. Digital Waste
3. Universal Chaos
4. Pressure
5. The Fall
6. The Takedown
7. Unfaithful
8. Resurrection
9. Undefeated
Lineup:
Geirmund Hansen – Vocals
Nicolay Tangen Svennæs – Keyboard
Petter Hallaråker – Guitar
Gunn-Hilde Erstad – Bass
Baard Kolstad – Drums
Record Label: Long Branch Records
     


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Edited 18 July 2019
 

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