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Based in Germany, RELOCATOR was founded in the summer of 2004 and was originally envisioned as a "full" live band. Never managing to maintain a stable complete lineup for long, four years and several personnel changes later the band self-destructed in late 2008.

But the music lived on. In early 2009 original founding members Stefan Artwin (guitars, programming) and Michael Pruchnicki (bass, fretless bass) decided to revive RELOCATOR as a project to finally finish the songs they had worked on for so long.

The result is a multi-national endeavour. Joining them on the first RELOCATOR album (released in January 2010) are Bartek Strycharski (electric violin), new talent Frank Tinge from the Netherlands (drums, percussion) and special guest star Derek Sherinian from the USA (all keyboards).

(Adapted from the band's own website)
Thanks to Raff for the addition

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RELOCATOR Relocator album cover 3.78 | 8 ratings
Progressive Metal 2010

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Album · 2010 · Progressive Metal
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Relocator's self titled debut brims over with energy and innovation with 8 instrumental tracks showcasing the vibrant musicianship. Stefan Artwin moves from jazz fusion to metal vibes on guitars, and is joined by the rhythm section of bassist Michael Pruchnicki and drummer Frank Tinge. The jazz section is augmented with electric violinist Bartek Strycharski and keyboardist Derek Sherinian as a special guest, hailing from early Dream Theater and Planet X.

Each track provides layers of inventive instrumental segments veering from heavy riffs to ambient beauty. There are sections that could have used vocals quite easily as the riffs lock in and motor along. It is difficult to differentiate one track from another on instrumental albums but the first 3 songs are excellent, and I got into the lengthy tracks 'Aavishkar' (10:32), and 'The Alchemist' (11:32). The latter track has a mesmirising bass intro and jazzy guitar rhythm, and the keys provide a progressive signature. It builds into a heavy prog riff, and some Steve Vai style lead motifs. The keyboard soloing is exquisite and the lead break is frenetic and fast paced.

A word about the packaging of the CD. Each page is like a framed photo of some abstract and colourful fractal imagery. There is a photo of an open palm, a maze of squares, a spiral and a tunnel; all enigmatic and thought provoking. This was an album I also played on a long road trip and it certainly was uplifting and a pleasant musical journey. The meandering musical shapes, mood swings and tempo shifts were echoed by the long winding and twisting roads. I tend to prefer prog with vocals but this is still great to plunge into on occasions, and is a solid debut from Relocator.


Album · 2010 · Progressive Metal
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This album was a real surprise for me. I thought I had these guys figured out somewhere in the middle of track one, and that's when the guessing began. I've seen people compare then to Planet X, and the comparison is unavoidable since the keyboardist is Derek Sherinian. The style comparison can be made, but this band defies comparison to any one band or sound. Each track of the CD I found myself saying "what are they going to do next?" The band manages to be very ecclectic and...FUN! Some tracks sounded like classic fusion, some more heavy sounding, and then there is the violinist who appears on some tracks, giving them a Kansas feel. I was incredibly entertained by the whole album, which never gets stale - a difficult task to accomplish for an all instrumental album.


Album · 2010 · Progressive Metal
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Conor Fynes
'Relocator' - Relocator (7/10)

Meeting at a crossroads halfway between progressive metal and jazz fusion, it's virtually taken for granted that Relocator would have to be a technically proficient act in order to perform this style. Indeed, this German act has chops that put many even within the prog world to shame. Although this band had been around for several years before this, the self- titled debut is the only official output the band has released, and yet it still gives a very precise measurement of what these musicians are aiming for. Think Dream Theater if they took the advice of Pat Metheny or even Cynic, and you will have an approximation of what this band sounds like. Suffice to say, Relocator's sound may rest in the uncomfortable area that is too heavy for jazzmen and too light for metalheads, but for those unopposed to that midground, Relocator makes for an easy recommendation.

As a listener, I have always been more into metal than jazz, although I have had great respect in turn for jazz, even adoring a handful of jazz artists. Relocator leans somewhat to the jazz side of their sound, but there is a metallic, synth-laden edge to the fusion they play. Early Dream Theater is the go-to comparison here, and it's perhaps not a coincidence that ex-Dream Theater keyboardist Derek Sherinian lends his talents here. Although Derek's appearance here may be Relocator's biggest selling point, the most impressive aspect of the sound is the acrobatic guitar work of Stefan Artwin. He provides both metal sweeps and dreamy jazz observations here, and executes both impressively. Frank Tinge's drums are perhaps lean more towards the metal side of things, although there's a nice range. Michael Pruchnicki's bass work on the other hand sticks to jazz, a mellow, but evident and present element to the band. Derek Sherinian and violinist Bartek Strycharski both give the jazz- metal fusion a new dimension. Sherinian sticks to prog metal keyboard proper, but Strycharski's electric violin the moments it's involved in an exotic vibe, as best demonstrated in the mini-epic 'Aavishkar'. The violin is the most surprising element of the band, and it would have been nice to hear a little more from it on 'Relocator', although its absence by no means detracts from the rest of the album.

Although its more a staple of the jazz fusion approach than Relocator themselves, the songwriting on this album is loose, and perhaps too much so for my tastes. Although the music is played with expertise, there is a lack of structure and proper hooks, aspects that I look for even in the most challenging music. Although the way the band plays as one clearly indicates that these compositions were carefully arranged, Relocator's focus on the virtuosic elements of progressive metal and jazz could have been nicely balanced off with more melodic passages to ground the listener down. That being said, the choice Relocator made for their work to be instrumental is all in their favour; their performances are able to run free without having to worry about dealing with a singer. Really, the bottom line here is that Relocator have crafted a fine album that impresses on many levels, but the lack of a distinct sound or signature style keeps this debut from reaching excellence or mastery. The performance art has been refined to a science, but it would be even more impressive still to hear this talented group find a unique blend of fusion to call their own.


Album · 2010 · Progressive Metal
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German band RELOCATOR makes a solid debut effort with this self-titled production, and it's easy to understand why the main members of this act refused to let these compositions rest when the original band broke up and decided to form a studio-based project instead.

Musically we're dealing with an instrumental progressive metal act, and the stylistic foundation isn't light years away from the most cliched comparison made when it comes to this general style. The contributions of former Dream Theater keys man Derek Sherinian possibly adding a bit of additional flavour in just that direction. Dark and often grimy guitar riffs is a frequent and recurring aspect throughout, and with dramatic keys surging on top intense and heavy themes are formed. But rather than staying put within this context, which in itself does provide ample possibilities for variation, Relocator opts for more diversity.

An often overlooked philosophy by metal bands is the thought of less is more. This act is aware of that line of thought though, and frequently insert gentler motifs with sparse instrumentation and an emphasis on mellow details. At times reminding me somewhat of the more accessible parts of the Alex Masi lead MCM project.

Another subtle flavour setting thsi band slightly apart are the keyboard textures, which rather often contributes with much more sophisticated motifs than the bog standard symphonic backing for riff cascade which is so much a trademark of the progressive metal genre. I often found myself thinking that a particular passage here might just as well have been a part of a symphonic progressive rock composition, and that the metal riffs underscoring it just happened to be metal in this case.

The use of electric violin does enrich this production quite a lot too, and there are small subtle details to discover throughout that should please the avid listener. The 70's psych inspired guitars given a subservient place in the arrangements on a few occasions throughout the eastern inspired track Aavishkar as an example of just that.

And while I don't think that this is an album that will draw in myriads of new fans to the instrumental progressive metal camp, it is a good and solid production throughout. Opening number Red Vibes the one who impressed me the most, possibly due to being the first foray into this band's musical universe.

Anyhow, if you like your progressive metal to be instrumental chances are that you'll appreciate Relocator's first foray into the world of recording artists. While not attempting to create a musical revolution they do add their own subtle nuances to the proceedings, and are amongst the relative few bands of the genre that can't be said to be direct followers of any of the major influential bands of the genre.

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