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Forgive Durden - Razia's Shadow: A Musical (Cover Artwork)

Forgive Durden

Forgive Durden: Razia's Shadow: A MusicalRazia's Shadow: A Musical (2008)
Fueled By Ramen Records

Reviewer Rating: 1.5


Contributed by: FatTonyFatTony
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Razia's Shadow brings to mind a specific scene in "This Is Spinal Tap": Once Nigel (arguably the talent) leaves the band, Derek and David discuss whether to resurrect their long-forgotten Jack the Ripper musical, "Saucy Jack." Likewise, in the years that have followed the release of Wonderland, an a.
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Razia's Shadow brings to mind a specific scene in "This Is Spinal Tap": Once Nigel (arguably the talent) leaves the band, Derek and David discuss whether to resurrect their long-forgotten Jack the Ripper musical, "Saucy Jack." Likewise, in the years that have followed the release of Wonderland, an album I fucking loved, Forgive Durden have lost three of their four members. What was left of the band (frontman Thomas Dutton) decided that the logical direction of the band would be writing a musical about angels, an idea as equally random and ridiculous-sounding as "Saucy Jack."

I could honestly care less about the album's story, so I'll just serve up this summary from Fueled by Ramen's site: "The album tells the story of a world divided in two by the selfish actions of a powerful and egotistical, yet insecure angel. After generations of darkness, the world is eventually brought back together by the love and sacrifice of a couple brave enough to fulfill their destinies." Based on that description, I'm fine with not knowing anything about the story.

The album was written by Dutton and his brother, who is studying music composition, according to Wikipedia. The music itself is interesting enough, but at times a lot of the instruments sound synthetic, especially the horns. I'm assuming it's because they are, since a band of Forgive Durden's popularity probably didn't have the budget to hire a full orchestra. When the instruments sound fake, it really detracts from the music. The album also suffers from poor pacing, with the last half's energy not matching that of the first half.

Dutton brought many of his friends along for the ride to play the various characters in the story. The list is a veritable who's-who of "scene" vocalists: Max Bemis, Casey Crescenzo, Brendon Urie and Chris Conley topping the list. They all do their thing well enough, but this is where the album hits a bit of a snag: If you don't like the guest vocalist's band, chances are they're going to ruin the song they appear on. It also feels like Dutton sings on less than half of the album, which makes it hard to justify calling it a Forgive Durden album.

Then there's the issue of Aaron Weiss (mewithoutYou), who serves as narrator on the album. As I said above, I don't really care about the story, so having to listen to narration between songs is a bit of a momentum-killer for me. It also strikes me as weak storytelling to have a narrator instead of letting the song lyrics tell the story themselves, but that's just my opinion. I wish they would have stuck the narration bits on their own tracks on the album so they were easier to skip or not rip from the CD.

On the positive side of guest musicians is Rudy Gajadhar of Gatsbys American Dream on drums. While his work on this album isn't as intricate or interesting as his drumming on Gatsbys albums, it's nice to know that he's still playing and he definitely brings some much-needed energy to the table.

Never let it be said that Forgive Durden is not ambitious: Their first full-length was a concept album and now their second is a full-fledged musical with an impressive list of guest stars. Unfortunately, this was the kind of idea that was destined to either be brilliant or fall completely flat. I wanted this to be brilliant, but while there are a handful of decent songs to be found on the album, it ultimately falls flat.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
im_john_galt (November 24, 2008)

Kill yourself homophobe.

eazyd3 (November 21, 2008)

gay album.
gay review.
gay comments.
all of the above need more cowbell.

im_john_galt (November 20, 2008)

"I tend to lean toward the harder side of punk,"

Ha. Couldn't pass this one up. Score is for "...the harder side of punk". Hilarious.

im_john_galt (November 20, 2008)

"Proper usage is you COULDN'T care less, not "I could care less", which would mean you already care in some way."

Score is for this kid. And the album.

dumhed01 (November 19, 2008)

I actually really enjoy this record.
It's grown on me a lot.

Their first album was kinda GAD-lite though.
The worst parts of the record for me are the dudes from panic at the disco and the matches.

But i still enjoy it.
Word.

thirtyseconds (November 19, 2008)

Yikes! I just clicked on "buy this record" instead of "comment".

BDN (November 19, 2008)

I downloaded this album because I was taking my wife to see Dear & The Headlights and Forgive Durden was opening and I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. I tend to lean toward the harder side of punk, but to say that this album is not creative and impressive (at times) is to approached with bias. From what I understand the other 3 member left after the 1st CD didnít result in Warped/AP type stardom. But 1 guy hung on, and to me itís obvious that he hung on for the music. One guy is responsible for the concept, the scoring, the lyrics and somehow bringing it all together AND successfully adapting to the (very small club) stage. After the show I spent a few minutes talking with Thomas, and to my surprise heís a good guy that seems to lack the massive ego that might be expected (for such a project). So hereís what I suggest: download the album, commit to listening to it 3x, go see the show and talk to ThomasÖ.you wonít be disappointed.

greenerton (November 19, 2008)

how can you review a concept album without paying attention to the story?

tenwestchaser (November 19, 2008)

His name was Robert Paulson....

holy_balls (November 18, 2008)

this album isn't so bad. i don't expect my fellow home slices on this site to like it though. this isn't your biscuit, but it's all gravy.

Apeman_on_the_Moon (November 18, 2008)

Proper usage is you COULDN'T care less, not "I could care less", which would mean you already care in some way.

scientistrock (November 18, 2008)

So it's Paradise Lost meets Romeo and Juliet in the form of a shitty album?

genebuonaccorsi (November 18, 2008)

zing!

freesandwich (November 18, 2008)

Did Bemis charge 150 for his appearance?

sammym006 (November 18, 2008)

score is for the review

red_eye_inc (November 18, 2008)

Your review perfectly mirrors how I think I would feel about this.

Dante3000 (November 18, 2008)

That cover makes me think of a story when I was on the bus this one time and this old black dude asked if I wanted to see his "chocolate mountain".

I hate that cover.
-Dante

tonyhoag (November 18, 2008)

bad review. I haven't heard the disc, but bad review. cover all bases if you're gonna review something.

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