R.A.C.E. The Revolt Against Cultural Extinction

Do you ever get the feeling you are unwittingly being recruited into some sort of cult? I couldn't help but get that sense while listening to the debut disc from Calgary-based the R.A.C.E. Their bio and website talk of "Sylys circa 2319." Could that be the name of the cult? Or is it just a sign of a band taking themselves too seriously? ("Our mission is to lay the blueprint of the future, in the subconscious of the culture.") The disc's repetitive samples continue to raise my suspicions. The samples, synth, effects and groove are provided by Epneris, who also replaces the standard rhythm section; that's right, there are no drums or bass in the R.A.C.E. Vocalist Jerrod Maxwell-Lyster has some talent but comparisons to Maynard James Keenan and Chris Cornell might be slightly overstated. Nevertheless, if the rumoured rebirth of progressive rock holds any weight, the R.A.C.E. should have a healthy career ahead of them. But don't take my word for it - I may now be one of their followers. (Independent)