First of all, this album is light years away from a masterpiece. I will try to be as succinct as possible to get my point across. From One was good, Duality was great, and Black Sun is pathetic. Problem with this albums: Most songs sound the same especially the choruses. I am a very open music fan but I haven’t been this musically disappointed in a long time. The best songs are the ones that were released before the album even dropped. With the exceptions of Faulty Information, Broken Hearted Soul, and Don’t Turn Away, there really isn’t much intriguing about this album. They built it up to be the greatest album ever and instead of making songs from the HEART they made an album bad mouthing genocides and their former record label. I think I’m speaking for the majority of Ra fans when I say that the songs we need are On My Side, Tell Me, Superman, Taken, Say You Will, Swimming Upsteam, Sky. Things of the nature. Real songs. My theory is good tunes are good tunes but this is just poor work compared to their previous efforts. They are not connecting with the listener with these songs. Cheesy lyrics as well to most choruses. Faulty Information stands out from the rest and the album should be modeled around that song and that style. I listen to Duality religiously and I listen to Black Sun seldomly. Huge let down. Go back to the songs about emotions and love and not about your record label problems. Fans care but don’t want to hear songs about it. Fans want to hear about songs they can relate to; those are the best songs.
The 2008 release by Ra is the album, Black Sun, featuring the single ”Broken hearted soul”.There are not a lot of rock bands in the world like Ra. Musicianship and real vocals mixed with truly commercial songs that somehow manage to remain intense, mysterious, heavy and creative. Self produced and engineered. Self promoted! Self managed! Considered by many to be the most underrated hard rock band still releasing music today. This album standsout as the best collection of songs they’ve ever put out. The band’s view is that this time the sun will shine for Ra without the misguided priorities that have made one of rocks unknown treasures live in the shadows. This time the sun shines on it’s own terms. Ra musician, P.J.Farley began his professional music career at 16 years old as the bass player for the band Trixter on MCA records.
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Just ran out and bought it. It’s Ra, so I know it would be good. This is like keeping the smooth vocals and guitar sound of the second album and mixing it with some hard licks from the first album. Every song that starts off like it’s going to be a softy becomes rocking heavy at some point or another. Throw in some egyptian sounding instruments and this makes what Ra is. Very good album. If you liked either of the two previous albums, I don’t see why you wouldn’t like this. Five stars because it just sounds different from everything always heard on the radio. Liked every track one way or another.
What can I say that probably has not already been said. This band is amazing. They are on a different plain from anyone else and that’s a great thing. Sure, they are a little commercial but not to the extent that all of the other bands in their category have become. You can tell that Ra do what they do for the music and their loyal fans. They will and can only continue to grow and get better over time. I hope that they will be around for many more years to come. When I first popped this new material in my CD player I really didn’t like it as much as their last two albums. But now by the 4th or 5th time I actually like it more. They are just so incredibly talented. More Ra, please! Can’t get enough.
For a heavy rock band like Ra, it hasn’t been easy. Having gone through two record labels, they’ve gone the independent way for their third studio release Black Sun. Without abandoning the Duality sound while also incorporating what made From One a fan favorite, this is easily their best record next to their first. What shocks me is that I haven’t heard these guys on the radio since ‘02, and while they’re not a total radio band, you’d think this would be played relentlessly like Seether or Breaking Benjamin, who in my opinion are lesser bands compared to Ra. So whether you haven’t heard these guys before or you’ve been a fan, do check these guys out.
Or so you would think.
My introduction to Ra came about when I went into a local FYE with a handful of cash and a cd player with an appetite. I came across the hard copy of ‘From One’, and was so impressed by the album cover I bought it on a whim. Why shouldn’t I have, with thirteen dollars to lose, and a timeless classic to gain, what choice could I have made.
I played From One to the point the bottom half of the album nearly turned black. Songs such as ‘Only’, ‘Sky’, ‘Rectifier’, ‘High Sensitivity’ and ‘On My Side’ had such multilayered elements of talent embedded into every second of music it was almost impossible not to succomb to an obsessive affair with it. The production, and sound quality on that album was fantastic (for it’s time), and you were presented with a group with unlimited potential, and the presence of mind to capitalize on that potential.
In between the releases of ‘From One’ and their 2005 sophmore album ‘Duality’, I had begun my personal music career as a hip hop artist, which required a great deal of dedication to the genre. I had not even been aware of Ra releasing ‘Duality’ until I breezed by it in the same FYE I had aquired ‘From One’ in. I purchased it without even a first thought. I will be the first one to admit that nine times out of ten, I prefer ‘Duality’ to ‘From One’.. the elegant, moody compositions coupled with the aggressive skull crushers that completely validated the concept of the album were too superb to deny. From the moment the cinematic intro exploded into ‘Fallen Angels’ all the way until the conclusion of the album it was obvious that these guys had no direction left other than upwards.
Or so it seemed.
The interim between ‘Duality’ and ‘Black Sun’ have been well-documented, and I will not waste your time by having you read about it, when you could just as easily enjoy the ‘From One’-esque gem ‘Waste Of Space’.
The title of ‘Black Sun’ is truely befitting of this album. This is a very dark album, to put it as simply as possible. ‘Broken Hearted Soul’ being by far the most tame track on the album in terms of thought provocation, makes for one of the most fun listens. Yet it is in the song that we encounter the most critical failure of ‘Black Sun’. Just about every song on this album is excellent. However, while listening it feels as though these songs are just one notch below the level of execution that they were built to me. Perhaps the previous two albums have heightened our expectations.
‘Lost Along The Way’, “Waste of Space’, and the pleasant ‘I Believe Again’, round out the superb midsection of this album, leading us into the formidable, yet subdued tail end. It is in the first act this album truely shines.
‘The First Step’ is classic ‘From One’ era instrumentation and cinematic sound, yet updated with newfound sound quality. The inclusion of the popular B-Side ‘Don’t Turn Away’ is definitely a big plus, considering it would’ve gone down as the best Ra song to never see a studio release had it not been on, and the updated version of it only ices the cake.
The highlight of this album comes in the supercharged ‘Faulty Information’, which may quite possibly be the best song Ra has released to date. So potent is this song that it almost weighs the album down simply because the other songs just aren’t quite on it’s level. While it may frustrate some to know that there is a clear divide between the “best”, and “worst” songs on the album, it should serve as a reminder that Ra always leapfrog over their previous albums, each time they release a new one. I just think that this time they just came up a little short, but that does not mean that they shouldn’t be carried upon their own shoulders. This is a fantastic album, and is more than enough to satisfy fans until their next release.
4 out of 5 stars.