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The Rick Ray Band 

Nothing to Lose (Neurosis)

To question the levels at which Rick Ray sets his amps is to question Northeast Ohio's greatest living practitioner of progressive-rock guitar. This is totally obvious after soaking up Nothing to Lose (which is, like, the dude's 20th release since 1999). The jazzy runs peppering "Blue Print for Ruin" and the technically masterful licks heard on "The Spirit of Fear" both reflect Ray's four-decade-long dedication to the music.

However, Ray needs to blow out the feedback, plain and simple. Sure, he's going for the Van Der Graaf vibe, where piercing reeds and faux-operatic vocals share the spotlight. But with all due respect, Ray, fuck the Brit-prog tradition; make your virtuoso chops chew our heads clear off. In others words, less Robert Fripp and way more Shinki Chen.

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