Raze The Maze is the brand new musical project from Moorea Dickason and Tarik Ragab. They are bandleaders of the prog-rock band MoeTar. I could hear some of the prog rock influence right away on their self-titled album Raze The Maze.
On that note, their music isn’t just about odd time signatures and an impressive knowledge of obscure scales. Their music is aesthetically appealing and they manage to create infectious hooks that when combined with the more elaborate technical side make a pretty incredible album.
Take for instance “Soil.” The song starts with deviating from 4/4 and instead embraces circular patterns and complex arrangements. The anchor is the vocals and Dickason has a great voice with plenty of emotion behind it. I love the descending scales yet simultaneously appreciated the vocal melody. Dickason sings, “Here we are we are the ones that came before, / Before the ashes in the soil.”
I was hoping the opening song wasn’t a fluke. It wasn’t. Those hypnotic and never ending patterns return on “Digital Deity.” The vocals are again really well done and make the song catchy and accessible. I also loved the arpeggiated synths they implement which really drives home the digital concept she sings about.
“A Riot Is A Storm” is a little bit of change. This song is a little more straightforward. It felt like ’80s arena rock. There is of course some prog but this felt closer to Rush at times, although the guitar solo had a ’70s classic rock flavor. The free jazz inspired “Roposapien” was a blast while “Apophecy” sounds like it could be used in a musical.
I had a hard time believing how many lyrics she was able to put in all two minutes and eighteen seconds of “Quixotic Quicksand.” Next up is “Life's A Dream” which sometimes sounds dissonant enough that it could easily turn into a nightmare or an endless loop of absurdity.
“William Tell Routine” is thematic and stripped. This song is haunting in a David Lynch type of way. Last up is arguable highlight “You Only Get This Life” and that David Lynch kind of absurdity felt more prevalent. There is tension here and a disconnect. I kept picturing Judy Garland here in her role in The Wizard of Oz singing but there was something deeply unsettling about it. I loved it.
This is an original album from beginning to end. I love art for a lot of reasons but I think one of the things it's supposed to do is make people think. It can be beautiful which is a nice feeling but I prefer it when I see a movie like There Will Be Blood or listen to an album like Raze The Maze that my mind asks “what did I just experience.” It can stew and ferment like a slow burn and possibly even change your perspective. Highly recommended.
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