Razia's Shadow review by Forgive Durden

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  • Released: Oct 28, 2008
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.7 (16 votes)
Forgive Durden: Razia's Shadow
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Sound — 10
Very few bands choose to completely change up their game at all; even fewer choose to do so on their sophomore effort. Forgive Durden, now consisting of only lyricist/vocalist/guitarist Thomas Dutton, is one band (solo project, perhaps? ) that chooses to make this bold movement on their second full length album, Razia's Shadow: A Musical. Unlike the pop-punk/indie outing that was 2006's Wonderland, Razia's Shadow is, well, a musical. No electric guitars are found, and in their place are all the horns, piano, and string arrangements needed to make an extremely different album. While the majority of the orchestrated sounds are digital due to budget, Dutton brought in Gatsby's American Dream drummer Rudy Gajadhar to play the standard drum kit for the album. Being a musical, Razia's Shadow naturally has a storyline, and flows as a concept album. There are several characters integrated, and each character, with the exception of 2 which are played by Dutton, is played by a quite notable vocalist. These artists include, for example, Casey Crescenzo (The Dear Hunter), Max Bemis (Say Anything), Nic Newsham (Gatsby's American Dream), Chris Conley (Saves The Day), and John Gourley (Portugal. The Man). Between songs, Aaron Weiss of mewithoutYou narrates the story very well, as his narrations can be very clever and often rhyme. Each vocalist works well with their song, but the one that really seems to stand out as a character portrayal is Doctor Dumaya, as played by Shawn Harris of The Matches. He twists and bends his voice and cackles eerily to convey the madness of the doctor, and truely seems to be a perfect vocal fit for this character. Fans of Forgive Durden who have listened to them since the EP's will be torn with this album. The massive change may be enough to turn fans into non-fans. Personally, the thought of a musical was a huge turn off, but oddly enough, I thoroughly enjoy this album, for both the musical aspect, and the interesting, yet a bit clich, story that Thomas Dutton has conjured.

Lyrics — 8
The story is told through dialogue in the first person perspective, so naturally, the lyrics are going to be limited somewhat in creativity. In a musical type setting, the lyrics aren't so much a medium of emotion, but rather a way of progressing the story and telling events that occur. Some of the lines are fairly predictable, but little flaws like this can be overlooked. The first half of the album tells of O The Scientist (Casey Crescenzo, The Dear Hunter), and his 2 pupils, angels Ahrima (Dutton), and Nidria (Lizzie Huffman, Man In The), and how the two angels fall in love. As he grows, Ahrima learns of his 'gift' and how he can create a world like no other, yet O The Scientist doesn't seem to notice this talent. While sulking, a spider named Barayas (Max Bemis, Say Anything) perches on his shoulder, and tells him how he should show his true power by bringing the lamps (the source of light and creation) to him to be destroyed. Ahrima obeys, and it leaves the land divided by dark and light. The second half takes place a century later, in which brothers Adakais (Dutton) and Pallis (Brendon Urie, Panic At The Disco) live in the dark region of the world. Adakais is unsatisfied with his home, and runs off to the light, meeting Princess Anhura (Greta Salpeter, The Hush Sound) and subsequently falling in love. That's basically a synopsis of the tragic love story that is Razia's Shadow. The story is told well through the dialogue, and the plot remains very clear throughout.

Overall Impression — 9
Razia's Shadow is unlike any album to be released by a pop-punk or similarly labeled band. What Thomas Dutton (with the help of his brother, and some notable musicians) has created is an musical experiment that taps into his own creativity. He seems to not be concerned with what anyone thinks, or where the band has been, previously, and more focused on the music he wants to create and the tales he envisions, which, in this era of music, is very honorable. A lot of listeners may be turned off at the idea of a full blown musical, with show tunes, horns, violins, etc.; I was one of them. It's not practical to fall in love with the album at first listen. It will take several play throughs to fully experience the tale of creation, love, and loss. Though it's not a perfect story, or a story we've never heard before, it's a very fascinating story that is extremely well thought out, especially for being written by a musician. Razia's Shadow will take you on a hundred year, one hour journey through the creativity of the remaining member of Forgive Durden, Thomas Dutton, lyricist, vocalist, guitarist, and expressionist.

13 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Sharp531
    Interesting album, well done for a band who only has Thomas Dutton left. The vocal delivery isn't very convincing at times for me, and most of the songs aren't as good standing alone, (the plot is TOO clear, in a sense,) but it's fresh coming from this side of music. Shawn Harris did an awesome job as Doctor Dumaya though.
    psilocyndreams2
    i am in love with this album, though i agree that the story is a little too straightforward. and from a different perspective, i would like to know what happens to all the characters after the end of it haha. it kind of leaves off without saying anymore about most of the characters, you know?
    Alexishxc1337
    psilocyndreams2 wrote: i am in love with this album, though i agree that the story is a little too straightforward. and from a different perspective, i would like to know what happens to all the characters after the end of it haha. it kind of leaves off without saying anymore about most of the characters, you know?
    agreed. plus, i love dan young's voice, but they never really tell who Sangara is in relation with Adakais or elaborate on his character anymore after The Exit.
    satyphan
    Alexishxc1337 wrote: psilocyndreams2 wrote: i am in love with this album, though i agree that the story is a little too straightforward. and from a different perspective, i would like to know what happens to all the characters after the end of it haha. it kind of leaves off without saying anymore about most of the characters, you know? agreed. plus, i love dan young's voice, but they never really tell who Sangara is in relation with Adakais or elaborate on his character anymore after The Exit.
    yeah, that's the problem with single concept albums... not much room to expand... that's why projects like the dear hunter or coheed and cambria are much more intricate and interesting... still, very good album none the less.
    toxicomanie
    I have to completely disagree with one part. Although I understand they are not well known in the US or Canada, Dionysos, a french Rock band, has released an album called "La Panique Mecanique" and it's an entire story, with a much better plot. It is in both English and French. Not to say that I didn't love this album very much, just to say they aren't the pioneers of this particular idea.
    Alexishxc1337
    toxicomanie wrote: I have to completely disagree with one part. Although I understand they are not well known in the US or Canada, Dionysos, a french Rock band, has released an album called "La Panique Mecanique" and it's an entire story, with a much better plot. It is in both English and French. Not to say that I didn't love this album very much, just to say they aren't the pioneers of this particular idea.
    Oh, i know they haven't really 'created' the concept album idea, but they're really the one of the first of their genre to completely change up their game and go nearly guitar-less and going for the whole full on 'musical' approach.
    evil_camel
    Thomas had help from his yuonger brother who was still in school at the time. They wroked on it mostly on weekends. And for the information of this review. I was attracted to Forgive Durden because of this album, and I enjoy all of Forgive Durden's old stuff too. Honestly try listening to how Thomas works his vocals in his musical. He is amazing. It was hard not to compare him to Anthony Green and Johnny Craig. I believe this album is bringing the best out of Thomas, and the next thing I believe he write willl be of both the old and new and it will just top everything. Also to put in some other info. Thomas mostly emailed with the other singers in this musical. He sent them recordings of how their parts would sound, and then they sang it themselves in recordings and sent it back. In being a composer myself, that is a hard task. I give all of those people many many kudos.
    evil_camel
    I forgot to add. This is not a "concept album", thats what people tend to get mixed up with in stuff like this. A concept album is an album concerning around a theme or idea, this in particular is what would be categorized as a "Rock Opera". A Rock Opera is an album with a story line and music to follow. -Kairabou
    evil_camel
    evil_camel wrote: I forgot to add. This is not a "concept album", thats what people tend to get mixed up with in stuff like this. A concept album is an album concerning around a theme or idea, this in particular is what would be categorized as a "Rock Opera". A Rock Opera is an album with a story line and music to follow. -Kairabou
    Pink Floyd, and Coheed and Cambria did them too (AMORY WARS!)
    GarrettAbbey
    Soo cheesy at times... and yet, soo damn good throughout. I binged on this album for like three months. My friends and I would find ourselves belting out the whole thing all the time. Great stuff