The Box - Destiny & Judgement Day
June 17, 2014
CD 1 : Destiny
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 4/5||Backing : 4/5||Production : 4/5||Sound quality : 5||Sleeve : 3|
In the past decade Jamaica witnessed the return of self-contained reggae bands. They were formed by well trained young musicians, who were not only taught how to play an instrument but also how to write proper songs with positive lyrics. Kingston JA based Raging Fyah, formed in 2006 and consisting of Kumar Bent (lead vocalist), Anthony Watson (drums), Courtland White (guitar), Demar Gayle (keyboard), and Delroy Hamilton (bass), is one of those bands.
After initially having played as a backing band, they started to focus on creating their own music. In 2011, Raging Fyah released their first full length album called "Judgement Day", featuring noteworthy tunes like the title track "Judgement Day", "Running Away", "World Crisis" and the hit single "Far Away". The album was well received, which made that Raging Fyah gained popularity and presence locally and in the US. And although "Judgement Day" wasn't released in Europe the band also started to gain notable recognition in that part of the world due to critical acclaimed club shows and appearances on several major reggae festivals in Europe such as Summerjam in Germany, Rototom Sunsplash in Spain and Garance Festival in France.
Three years after the release of the "Judgement Day" set, Raging Fyah comes up with their sophomore album "Destiny". The latter is a well varied collection of tunes, offering the listener 11 entertaining and engaging tracks. And although it's obvious that their music is grounded in classic Roots Rock Reggae, the band doesn't shy away from adding different sounds to their works. It shows their versatility, something Raging Fyah has plenty of, and thus we are treated to songs that incorporate elements of jazz, classical and gospel music and African drumming. "Destiny" contains mainly easy accessible music that will appeal to a wide audience, with some of the tracks - due to their poppy reggae feel - having a strong crossover appeal.
The infectious opening cut "Fight" with its light-hearted sounding riddim track is an uplifting song with serious conscious lyrics. It's not the only song featured here that touches the heart and soul of the listener as can be experienced while listening to songs like for example the solid "Jah Glory", the first single off the album, the inspirational "Mankind" and the outstanding roots anthem "Nah Look Back". With the beautiful "Brave" - a slow, soulful piece with a gorgeous piano and great harmonizing vocals - Raging Fyah delivers a tune that would work outside of reggae as well. And again, as in most cases here, it's recommended to check the lyrics : "I ask Mama "What is faith? Is it just believing in a better day?" She said "Son don't be stuck in your ways. Just remember, don't be a slave to your grave. Just remember, you got to be brave.” Other highlights worth hearing over and over again are rootical efforts such as "Feel Jah Love", "Barriers", and "Step Outta Babylon", the latter being a song about the value of love over material wealth.
Overall opinion is that both Raging Fyah albums -- issued as a package by French record label Soulbeats Records -- are solid sets worth hearing from beginning to end.
(The dbl cd is available at www.shopsoulbeats.fr)