RUBYCONE

Progressive Metal • Moldova
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Hailing from Chisinau (Moldova), RUBYCONE were formed in 2005 by bassist Stas Starush, after a series of frustrating experiences playing in alternative bands. It took three years of frequent personnel changes before Stas found the perfect musicians with whom to start recording. The first songs written by RUBYCONE included vocals, but the experiment was unsuccessful, so Starush and his bandmates decided to change things, and get some of the guitar lines to perform the function of vocals.

The band had their live debut in Odessa (Ukraine) on February 16, 2008, and in the following seven months had various opportunities to perform live in their home town. In August of the same year RUBYCONE came across the funds to record a full-length album. "Pictures of Susceptible Housewives", released in 2009, reworked and expanded on the four tracks contained in the EP by the same title that had marked their recording debut in
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RUBYCONE Pictures of Susceptible Housewives album cover 3.95 | 5 ratings
Pictures of Susceptible Housewives
Progressive Metal 2009
RUBYCONE Fish​-​Horse album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Fish​-​Horse
Progressive Metal 2016

RUBYCONE EPs & splits

RUBYCONE Old Nothern Whale album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Old Nothern Whale
Progressive Metal 2017

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RUBYCONE Reviews

RUBYCONE Pictures of Susceptible Housewives

Album · 2009 · Progressive Metal
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siLLy puPPy
The music we hear from the Republic of Moldova in the Western world is admittedly quite scarce if practically non-existent but in the modern world where we are all connected, while most of us haven’t even heard of this Romanian speaking nation that was once the wine growing region of the former Soviet Union, the people there are quite in tune with what has been happening in the West ever since and music is defiantly no exception. Emerging from the capital city of Chisinau, the quartet of musicians collectively known as RUBYCONE took their name from the river in Italy which was crossed by Julius Caesar, a term which has since been popularized to mean the ultimate boundary. It is quite the case that RUBYCONE took this name because they do indeed transcend unique brackish crossroads of music. In this case the world of progressive metal and post-rock.

RUBYCONE still exists and has unleashed a few released as recently as 2017’s EP “Old Northern Whale” but it all began back in 2009 with the band’s debut PICTURES FOR SUSCEPTIBLE HOUSEWIVES which dons a rather hilarious 50s black and white album cover with the jocular hilarity of Frank Zappa, however the music is quite a serious affair and the team that consists of Roma "Romones" (guitar), Nikita "Primus man"(drums), Stas "VStas"(bass) and Stas “Norfeus"(guitar) conjure up a veritable smorgasbord of “Red” era King Crimson mixed with heavier elements of modern progressive metal all mixed up with the post-rock sensibilities of Mogwai, Godspeed! You Black Emperor and the more metallic approaches of Isis. The result is quite the pleasant blend of instrumental prowess all teased into smoothly flowing celebration of 11 tracks that rock the house and hypnotize the mouse. Bitchin’ cool.

A few things make this album unique. Firstly, it’s from Moldova! OK, Moldovans may not agree but hey, i’m in the Bay Area in California, so sorry to say that Chisinau is not exactly on my radar on a daily basis! Secondly, this is a unique mix of elements. The aforementioned King Crimson from the 70s mixes with effortlessly with the more aggressive djent leanings of modern bands like Animals With Leaders as well as the post-rock / metal hypnotism of bands like Isis and Mogwai. While not as cerebral as Godspeed!, the field samplings of vocals and other sounds do indeed bring that band to mind in that department. While not creating an entirely new paradigm of musical experience, RUBYCONE nonetheless found an interesting way to take certain influences and putting them on the work table to create a totally new beast and one that is a captivating listen from beginning to end.

Other than the field samples of vocals this is completely an instrumental experience however certain guitar parts were specifically used to mimic a vocalist’s melodic dominance but only in certain segments which also adds to the mystique as the band sort of morphs into different phases without abrupt changes. While the music can be soft, placid and even surreal, it can also burst into super heavy bombast with virtuosic guitar solos whizzing by at a million miles per second but usually this floats along at a mid-tempo range and nothing gets too OMG-mommy-i-wanna-hide-under-the-table-ish. Comparisons, hmmm. On the metal side defiantly Isis or Pelican. On the post-rock side Mogwai, Explosions In The Sky, Tortoise. Surprisingly this band eschews any local folk influences and there is absolutely nothing on here that would connect RUBYCONE to the geographical area from whence they came. Overall, this is a wonderful album that sounds familiar yet fresh in many ways.

RUBYCONE Pictures of Susceptible Housewives

Album · 2009 · Progressive Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Kev Rowland
A Fifties-style cover and an interesting album title gives nothing away about what one will find when one puts this on the player, and song titles such as “And The Perfect Yellow Walls Will Show You The Magic” doesn’t exactly lend themselves to interpretation. But all becomes clear when one finally listens to the music as here we have a band that are refusing to conform in any way whatsoever. The basis of this could probably be best described as instrumental prog metal, but there are huge jazz influences at play here as well. They move between electric and acoustic instruments with ease, each having it’s own place in the collage of music they present, and while they can riff out in true Dream Theater style with plenty of counterpoint and aggression the real joy of this album is never being really sure as to what it likely to come next.

With 11 songs and only just over 41 minutes long it is a concise piece of work, with just the one lengthy number, the closing “When The Rain Is Over I’ll Say To You: Hasta La Vista” (with some sound snippets from a certain film) which is eight minutes, but generally they have to keep their musical journeys short and to the point. Overall this is quite a debut from this Moldovan quartet, and some five years on from its release I am amazed that there hasn’t been a follow-up. I just hope that doesn’t mean that these guys are no more as this is well worth investigating. The music is so tight there just isn’t any room for a singer or keyboards, and the rhythm section manage to keep it going so that the two guitarists can interweave the melodies. Superb.

RUBYCONE Pictures of Susceptible Housewives

Album · 2009 · Progressive Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Windhawk
Intriguing début from this Moldovan act.

On these 11 instrumentals they explore a contrasting musical landscape, where the guitars dominate the proceedings from start to finish.

Acoustic guitars and melodic undistorted guitars are contrasted with distorted and often heavy riffs, where each track has sequences of both the gentler and the more brutal aspects of this instrument; and careful dissonances are added in the multiple layered guitar themes to add some subtle textures and details to the explorations. Usually there will be either one soloing pattern over a more laid-back melodic theme or a riff pattern; but also melodic embellishments over a thematic foundation are utilized from time to time.

Short tunes means that these efforts don't get too repetitive, and there are enough good ideas on this album to make it enjoyable too - at least of you're fond of instrumental albums verging back and forth between rock and metal in style. Good début by a talented act.

RUBYCONE Pictures of Susceptible Housewives

Album · 2009 · Progressive Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Raff
Even a casual listener will immediately notice the album's quirky title and the matching, Fifties-style cover artwork. The tracklist will then reveal titles that bring the Canterbury scene to mind, displaying a sense of humour that is none too frequent in the world of progressive rock - let alone progressive metal. The actual listening experience, however, may turn out to be disappointing for those expecting a series of avant-garde-tinged, amusing stories - "Pictures for Susceptible Housewives" is a wholly instrumental album, and the only vocals heard come in the shape of voice-overs. Though the album was conceived as a series of sonic vignettes, loosely based on the effect of consumerism on ordinary people, its instrumental nature makes the connection between the concept and the music somewhat elusive, unless one is possessed of a very fertile imagination. It was nevertheless a bold move on the part of the band, and one that could lead to interesting developments .

Musically speaking, Rubycone occupy that grey area between prog-metal and hard-edged 'classic' prog à la King Crimson. The prog-metal inspiration is most evident in the second half of the album, in the crushingly heavy riffs and rapid-fire drumming of the likes of "Cry Baby, You Are a Machine" and "Don't Stop, Michael". Echoes of King Crimson surface instead in the guitar tone of "Children and Funny Earthquake". Most of the tracks alternate slower, mid-paced sections with hectic riffing and spiky, shred-like lead work - as exemplified by "Vikings Love Horses", which features some tasteful, Spanish-style guitar licks alongside the unleashed riffage, and the drum-powered "Fisherman's Story".

As the whole album runs at 41 minutes, the tracks are short and to the point - the longest, album closer "When the Rain Is Over, I'll Say to You Hasta la Vista", is for more than half made up of sound effects (rain, thunder and lightning), plus a snippet of dialogue from the "Terminator 2" movie, while the rest is a full-throttle metal cavalcade. Given the nature of the music, the disc's short running time is definitely a bonus point ? something a lot of modern bands still have to learn. There are also a couple of mainly acoustic, very short interludes, "Midnight Broken Heart" and the funnily-named "Porcupine Tree Alone".

As can be expected from such an ambitious album, the musicianship is excellent throughout. Thankfully, the collective members of Rubycone avoid bludgeoning the listener over the head with their technical chops, and the outstanding production values make it possible for each musician to be heard and appreciated in his own right. On the other hand, it should also be said that "Pictures for Susceptible Housewives", though an undeniably solid effort, is not always completely successful in the originality department, and that the frequent shredding can get somewhat tiresome at times. A bit more melody in the guitar department would definitely be an improvement for the future, especially if the band choose to pursue the path of instrumental music.

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