186

Rockenfield Speer: Hells Canyon

By

Sign in to view read count
Rockenfield Speer: Hells Canyon Multi-instrumentalists Scott Rockenfield and Paul Speer have teamed up to release Hells Canyon, a CD of tracks inspired by the mystique surrounding its namesake – the deepest gorge in North America. Speer and Rockenfield’s attempts at capturing the enigma of Hells Canyon and translating it into music are successful at times, but for the most part the tracks on the CD aren’t anywhere near as deep as the gorge itself.

Hells Canyon is comprised mainly of instrumental guitar-driven tracks, with Speer’s “Symphony of Voices” samples adding some depth and eeriness to the tracks. The musicianship (especially the guitar playing) is excellent throughout, and songs such as the techno-tinged “Coyote” and the airy “China’s Last Stand” are great compositions that capture the feel and essence of the Hells Canyon region. The CD insert contains some stories that go along with the tracks (a nice addition), and reading these passages will help the listener determine whether or not the story is being properly represented musically. In my opinion, Rockenfield Speer’s success was mixed in this endeavor – sometimes (as in the two aforementioned tracks) they create music that can truly transport your mind, while other tracks such as the somewhat repetitive “Seven Devils” and the blues-inspired “Buffalo Eddy” fall a little short.

The most glaring problem with this release is in its overall “sameness”. I understand that the tracks on Hells Canyon are supposed to have a similar feel to one another, but I feel that they were a bit too similar. This can mostly be attributed to guitar riffs that are repeated a bit too often (“River of No Return” is a prime example), and the almost overbearing use of the “Symphony of Voices” effects. Songs such as “Red Torrent,” with its excellent drum passages and interesting guitar work show what this band is capable of, but too often on Hells Canyon they fail to maximize their potential.

So, while Hells Canyon is by no means a BAD release, it can be a frustrating one at times given the obvious talent that this band possesses. I hope that on their next release, Rockenfield Speer try to diversify musically by exploring other sounds and holding back on the gimmicky “Symphony of Voices” keyboards. I’m sure that these musicians can be successful with more varied styles of music, and I look forward to their next release.


Track Listing: 1. Descent (0:33), 2. Seven Devils (3:41), 3. Chant of the Fathers (3:09), 4. Snake Dance (4:37), 5. Crossing to Freedom (3:15), 6. Coyote (6:04), 7. Red Torrent (4:06), 8. River of No Return (4:55), 9. China

Personnel: Scott Rockenfield: drums, percussion, keyboards; Paul Speer: guitar, bass guitar, keyboards,

Title: Hells Canyon | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Rainstorm Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Towards Language CD/LP/Track Review Towards Language
by John Eyles
Published: June 23, 2017
Read The Romeo and Juliet Project CD/LP/Track Review The Romeo and Juliet Project
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 23, 2017
Read Saluting Sgt. Pepper CD/LP/Track Review Saluting Sgt. Pepper
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 23, 2017
Read Crystal Machine CD/LP/Track Review Crystal Machine
by Glenn Astarita
Published: June 23, 2017
Read Saluting Sgt. Pepper CD/LP/Track Review Saluting Sgt. Pepper
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Thick as Thieves CD/LP/Track Review Thick as Thieves
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 22, 2017
Read "The Duo - Live!" CD/LP/Track Review The Duo - Live!
by Chris Mosey
Published: October 2, 2016
Read "Clockwork" CD/LP/Track Review Clockwork
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 13, 2016
Read "From Here to There" CD/LP/Track Review From Here to There
by Mark F. Turner
Published: September 11, 2016
Read "Buoyancy" CD/LP/Track Review Buoyancy
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 29, 2016
Read "Cinema Spiral" CD/LP/Track Review Cinema Spiral
by Troy Collins
Published: October 22, 2016
Read "Strunkin'" CD/LP/Track Review Strunkin'
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 18, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.