"II" (Lion Music; 2003)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

As you can see by the review below, I was a little disappointed with Condition Red's self-titled CD. Despite the caliber of talent behind the CD, "Condition Red" was a little dull. That the artists involved were such first class musicians only made that dullness all the more excruciating.

In my review of "Condition Red," I hoped that the band's next CD, "II," was a little more lively. Thankfully, that's just the case. "II" is much better than its predecessor. Not only is it more "lively," but I believe that the incredibly talented batch of musicians behind the project have outdone themselves as far as studio performances are concerned.

"II" contains thirteen tracks, many of which feature vocal performances (Ella Grussner's ethereal voice is far more effective on this CD) and some of which are short instrumental pieces. The songs are better written, sounding a lot more like songs than excuses to display one's progressive talents. The guitar leads are more soulful and sharp. Even the production sounds a notch better. 

"II" isn't the kind of record you'll bang your head to, but it is the kind of cerebral rock'n'roll experience that will draw you in and hold you throughout. You certainly can't say that about the band's first CD but, thankfully, "II" has more than made up for that transgression.

 "Performing on "II" are Ella Grussner - all vocals, violin; Gerald Kloos - drums; Lars Eric Mattsson - guitars; Alex Masi - guitars; Alexander King - keyboards. 

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"Condition Red" (Lion Music; 2000)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

"Condition Red" is a frustrating CD. Featuring performances by such legends as Alex Masi, Derek Sherinian and Lars Eric Mattson, "Condition Red" is a fine example of musical talent at work ... with a devastating side note:

It's boring.

"Condition Red" plods along at a snail's pace for most of the CD, never really taking flight or grabbing the listener's interest. Yes, it's amazing to hear the likes of Alex, Derek and Lars Eric doing their thing but "Condition Red" just never soars. Instead, it edges along, occasionally bursting into an impressive solo or a short-lived vocal break. It's progressive rock that never really rocks. And, with most of the songs running over eight minutes each, that measured pace takes its toll.

Obviously, however, the band still found an audience. In 2003, Condition Red recorded and released a second CD, entitled "II." Hopefully, the new CD is somewhat more lively than this first one.

Performing on "Condition Red" are: Ella Grussner - lead vocals and violin; Torgny Stjarnfelt - lead vocals; Lars Eric Mattson - guitar, bass, keyboards; Alex Masi - guitar; Derek Sherinian - keyboard solos on tracks 3 and 8; Alexander King - keyboards; Esa Pietila - sax; Eddie Sledgehammer - drums; Orjan Sjostrom - backing vocals.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2004 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 09 Dec 2018 12:03:10 -0500.