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Articles Home » 2003 Articles » Condition Red - 2003 II
Condition Red - 2003 II

Ella Grussner - vocals, violin, flute
Lars Eric Mattson - guitars, bass, sitar, keyboards
Alex Masi - guitars (solos on 2, 6 and 8)
Alexander King - keyboards
Gerald Kloos - drums

To be honest I found listening to Condition Red's latest effort quite hard going. For the simple reason it crosses so many musical boundaries, that it's hard to pigeon-hole. That's not their fault, more my issue. The musicianship in many places is superb: complex, changeable between harder and lighter styles, contrasting between dark and light. Lead singer Ella Grussner, also an accomplished musician, sways her vocals in a prog/folk direction. Overall musically, I am reminded of bands such as Austria's Edenbridge, as well as Amun Re, who both play in a progressive and symphonic style, Grussner's vocal comparison to Sabine Edelsbacher more of a reminder rather than a carbon-copy. The fact that two guitar hotshots in Lars Eric Mattsonand Alex Masi turn up to play gives the album the much-needed 'shred' factor, while the symphonic elements are provided by keyboardist Alexander King, and Grussner's classical influence. The other interesting aspect of this album is that every odd numbered track is an instrumental. So, half vocal, half instrumental? Brave!

The Songs
So, for the most part, I'll cover off the vocal tracks. Ignoring the lead-off instrumental 'The Warning' for a minute, we'll boot right into 'Eye Of The Storm', a real belter with nifty keyboards a la Harpischord. The vocals are a little off-putting though, sounding more 'spoken word' than sung. Some cool Yngwie Malmsteen like guitarwork at the end though. 'Time Passes By' does exactly that for me, not holding a lot of interest, while 'Its Not Too Late' wanders down the eastern mystical road, with sitars and exotic rhythmic percussion. 'Why Won't You Hear Me' sees Alex Masi tear up the fretboard in no uncertain terms, the track though, is a bit of a mish-mash. 'Your Freedom' is a prog/folk workout, with acoustic strumming and eastern rhythms. 25 years ago this would've been Heart for sure! On the other hand, 'Train Insane' is a mixed bag, funky in places, big-sounding mostly. And the lyrics.. 'You feel so good, and you know you should, so fuck tomorrow..' What's that all about?

In Summary
Admittedly, the album is quite deep, apparently the lyrical content refers to the trials and tribulations of living in the modern world, something everyone has endured at some point. Musically, the album will take a few listens to get right into the 'core' of it all, and for those endearing prog rockers out there, you may well come away with some change! Don't let the fact that it's half instrumental put you off. Worth a listen!

Track Listing:
01 The Warning (Instr)
02 Eye Of A Storm
03 Cycles (Instr)
04 Time Passes By
05 The Eagles Return (Instr)
06 It's Not Too Late
07 Rondo (Instr)
08 Why Won't You Hear Me?
09 Seven Stars (Instr)
10 Your Freedom
11 In/Out (Instr)
12 Train Insane
13 Out Of The Red (Instr)

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