The Raging Project - Future Days

The Raging Project – Future Days

2024 blusters in with storms and rain but despite widespread world problems it fails to stem the flow of new music flooding into our ears. Rushing in a torrent towards us there have already been a number of commendable albums this year already that are riding the waves to great acclaim. But there are also those that will sink without trace and some that will float on the surface, going with the flow. So will this album sink, float or crest the waves majestically?

Resurrected from the previously named ‘Project Rage’ conceived during 2007 in Besançon, France the album is composed and performed by vocalist/keyboardist Ivan Jacquin (Foreign Rock Opera, Psychanoia), aided and abetted on the twelve songs of modern progressive metal by numerous talented artists listed at the bottom of this review.

The Raging Project describe their music as “really metal, with traces of electro, heavy and prog-rock elements, for an introspective journey through the eyes of travelling spirits all around the earth wondering if human beings should deserve to be helped in saving their planet and healing their craziness for power and never-ending technology… or letting them fail through a near and lethal destiny”.

Let’s see shall we?..

We start with a two-minute intro, Warning, which begins with keyboards that start to throb and build as the drums add a backbeat rhythm. Spoken lyrics attempt to purvey the sense of danger and rage, but I find them oddly distracting and can’t help but feel a deeper voice or no vocals at all could have added to the menace.

Verdict: Flounders in uneven currents.

Rage follows and after a few electronic bars the guitars crash in with a mixture of shouted and rapped vocals but ease off in the choruses. When the singing and harmonising kick in for a short while they work well, but it is limited and soon replaced by shouting again in what appears to be a Linkin Park style, but not very successfully to my ears. At nearly six minutes long the song leaves me mildly disinterested, rather than enraged.

Verdict: A lot of superfluous splashing around and starting to take on water.

As with the previous two tracks, synth’s burble into Don’t Want and this moves on with a little more urgency with keys, guitars and percussion driving this along nicely. The harmonising and sung vocals lifts this further but the ineffectual screamed vocals feel unnecessary but nevertheless this is the first track to hold my attention fully and whilst fairly generic the musicianship cannot be faulted.

Verdict: The bilge pumps engage and this album starts to float.

Colère is sung in French with the vocals in the band’s native language which appear more at ease on this track. The song has a heavier delivery weaved throughout with calmer interludes and finishing climatically. My apologetic schoolboy French is insufficient to understand the lyrics without translation. Notwithstanding, I have a number of songs/albums in various languages which I thoroughly enjoy and this is definitely the best track on the album so far.

Verdict: Sails forward navigating a head wind.

With airs of early Arena, Even If I Bleed features some nice twin guitars and solos. The sung lyrics fair well again, with some harmonising, though at times on the higher notes the male vocals struggle a little. The rhythm section and keys/synths all seem to gel nicely and I enjoyed this track, taking us further away from the rocky shores of the first couple of tracks.

Verdict: The waters calm and the sails fill, carrying this along at pace, waves lapping at the bow as it cuts a swathe through the sea.

In the dizzying swirl of three minutes, the band get their groove on and kick up a storm on I Wanna Dance. Bouncing round the deck, the crew lash everything down into a tight groove, which ends abruptly leaving you breathless and watching the blustery clouds fade on the horizon.

Verdict: Wild horsetails throw spume across the decks as the music slips and sways.

A piano led intro with aching guitar strains allows an ambient break as we are guided on a steady course. The mostly instrumental first two thirds of the song have the odd sung lines and the tempo rises in the last couple of minutes with added vocals to end dramatically. Not far short of the seven-minute mark, this doesn’t feel overlong.

Verdict: Calming waters and a tailwind guide the vessel forward on this musical charter.

As we Turn to the eighth, brusque track with its mixture of vocal styles, including the main singer sounding like he’s from an 80’s New Romantic band at times, this heavier aggressive track blasts through, punctuated by riffs and screams/shouting into an abrupt ending, with little affect.

Verdict: Treading water, for all the bluster.

Coming in at just over ten and a half minutes, On Earth is the album’s main part of the journey and despite its length I find this track quite enjoyable, marred only in the delivery of some narration which reduces the gravity of the message. The music is good and so are the lyrics with the vocals, again working best when sung and harmonised.

Verdict: Recovers the stability of the ship and corrects the course in the right direction.

Can I just mention the lyrics at this point on the album, in defence of some of my previous comments. They are well written, poignant and the subject matter covered, very important. But I can’t help wonder if they had used a respected narrator – would have added gravitas to the messages portrayed and greatly improved the impact (probably budget restrictions – Ed). It is the delivery that lacks, not the words.

Track ten takes us on a Procession, where the lyrics are delivered once again in French which is to its advantage, especially on the spoken words, where they appear heartfelt and not out of place. The music parades through in a stately fashion and builds slowly like an approaching fleet, flags at full mast and fluttering in the breeze towards the emotional destination.

Verdict: A grand pageant approaching the latter part of the journey.

In the penultimate track, Wrath’s heavy intentions are displayed in the first few bars of guitar. Swirls of Wakeman style keys add flourish and once more the harmonised vocals fit in nicely. There is a quieter passage that precedes the explosive second half, with unleashed guitars and drums to the dramatic close.

Verdict: A brief burst, but one which rides the waves and doesn’t buffer against them.

The final track, Meme Si Je Saigne (Even If I’m Bleeding), benefits from being sung in the native tongue once more and is reminiscent of fellow French compatriots Lazuli. There is some nice guitar soloing without going over the top and after several listens, may well be my favourite track.

Verdict: Sails into harbour with crew and cargo intact, just a few grazes below the plumb line.

With a stellar cast of renowned musicians contributing, there are tracks on this album to like and recommend, taking into account my personal observations. I understand the reasoning for singing in English as it may appeal to a wider audience, but in my humble opinion I feel, just like the aforementioned Lazuli, the album may have been better sung and narrated fully in French.

“Ayez du courage mes courageux musiciens et restez fidèles à vous-mêmes”, trust in yourselves and good luck in your future adventures.

01. Warning (2:36)
02. Rage! (6:0)
03. Don’t Want (5:18)
04. Colère (4:51)
05. Even if I Bleed (7:34)
06. I Wanna Dance (2:55)
07. Ambient (6:47)
08. Turn (2:51)
09. On Earth (10:43)
10. Procession (9:00)
~ Bonus tracks
11. Wrath (Colère – English version) (4:51)
12. Même Si Je Saigne (Even if I Bleed – French version) (7:34)

Total Time – 70:04

Ivan Jacquin – Vocals, Keyboards, Programming, Bass Synth (1, 3, 5, 6, 10 & 11)
Leo Margarit – Drums (2, 3, 5 & 12)
Thierry Charlet – Drums (7, 8 & 9)
Henri-Pierre Prudent – Drums (4, 6, 10 & 11)
Fabrice Lacourt – Guitar (1, 3, 8 & 9), Bass (3)
Jean-Philippe Ciman – Bass (2 & 8)
Franz Koehler – Bass (4, 7, 9 & 11)
Olivier Gaudet – Guitar (2, 4, 5 & 12)
Stelios Gatziolis – Guitar (11)
Geoffrey Baumont – Guitar (6 & 7)
Jean-Pierre Louveton – Guitar (7), Vocals (12)
Amanda Lehmann – Guitar (5 & 12), Vocals (5 & 9)
Jeannick Valleur – Vocals (3, 4 & 9)
Ingrid Denis – Vocals (2, 7 & 9)
Greg Giraudo – Vocals (11)
Derek Sherinian – Keyboards, Theremin (9)

Record Label: Independent
Country of Origin: France
Date of Release: 6th February 2024

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