AbsolutePunk.net
   Username
Password
 
Album Review
Forgive Durden - Razia's Shadow: A Musical Album Cover

Forgive Durden - Razia's Shadow: A Musical

Reviewed by
8.6
Forgive DurdenRazia’s Shadow: A Musical
Release Date: October 28, 2008
Record Label: Fueled By Ramen
This review was written by an AP.net staff member.
It was only a matter of time before a band from the “scene” would have the ambition to write and record a musical. Quite frankly, I would have expected it to be done by a band like Say Anything or Angels & Airwaves (although that would have been horrible). Instead, it is the brainchild of Thomas Dutton, the sole remaining member of Forgive Durden, a band often overlooked on the Fueled By Ramen roster.

Dutton co-wrote Razia’s Shadow with his brother, Paul. He also organized and played most of the instrumentation on the album, with former Gatsby’s American Dream drummer Rudy Gajadhar hitting the skins. To bring Razia to life though, Dutton summoned the help of many top vocalists in the scene, including Max Bemis (Say Anything), Greta Salpeter (The Hush Sound), Aaron Weiss (mewithoutYou), and Chris Conley (Saves The Day). Each guest contributed a voice to a character in the musical.

Produced by Casey Bates, Razia’s Shadow is a thirteen track journey that tells “the story of a world divided in two by the selfish actions of a powerful and egotistical, yet insecure angel. After generations of darkness, the world is eventually brought back together by the love and sacrifice of a couple brave enough to fulfill their destinies.” Bates’ production is pristine, and along with Weiss’ narration, helps the story move crisply and cleanly. The story is winding and intimate, ripe with themes of hope, corruption, deceit, and love. I won’t be getting into the depth of Razia’s storyline because that is up to you, the listener, to interpret. Rather, I’ll discuss whether or not Dutton successfully brought his image to life.

“Genesis” begins with the awakening of triumphant strings, which lead into Weiss’ narration. It picks up with Casey Crescenzo (of Dear Hunter fame) vocals leading the charge over delicate bells and a steady drum beat. The pace is choppy and transitions into the waltzy “The Missing Piece,” which features beautiful vocals from Lizzie Huffman. “Life Is Looking Up” is the only track that has no guest vocals. A restless track, Dutton sings with urgency, as strings and drums bellow throughout.

“The Spider and The Lamps” is vibrant and groovy, with Max Bemis making the spider character his own. His voice is razor sharp and plays off of Dutton’s voice perfectly. The drumming is excellent and the piano mimics a spider furiously spinning a web. Chris Conley appears as Toba in “Toba The Tura,” a song that begins softly with soothing strings but slowly builds into a biting bridge that Conley completely owns. These two tracks are the highlight of the album for me, as Bemis and Conley portray their characters quite well.

The best contribution, however, comes from Greta Salpeter, the voice of Princess Anhura. Her vocals in “It’s True Love” (a ballad between her and Dutton) and “Meet The King” (her turn with former Gatsby’s American Dream vocalist Nic Newsham) are stunning. Her dark, luscious voice paces the tracks, even though “Meet The King” has a childish vibe to it. “Doctor Doctor” with The Matches' Shawn Harris is mischievous and sounds like it should be featured in the next Burton film. Harris does a fine job of altering his voice to take on the Doctor character, but, overall, the song is ridiculous. The frenzied closer, “The End and The Beginning,” features a vocal battle between Dutton and Panic At The Disco’s Brendon Urie and ends with a beautiful harmony between Dutton and Salpeter. Weiss’ narration completes Razia’s Shadow, cumulating on a few words of wisdom.

Razia’s Shadow is highly ambitious, and with the help of many “scene” leaders, Thomas Dutton is successful at pulling off his vision. Sure, some of the songs are outlandish and the lyrics cheesy at times, but that doesn’t hinder Razia’s Shadow from capturing your imagination. Obviously without the help of Greta Salpeter, Brendon Urie, Max Bemis, and others, this wouldn’t have the same results, but Dutton gathered a diverse group to bring this vision to life. Musically, Razia’s Shadow is delicious and interesting; instead of guitars dominating an album, strings and horns take center stage, thus creating the scene and tone of the musical. The true test of Razia’s Shadow will be its lasting power. Will this be something fans listen to over and over again, or is it just another “flavor of the week” album? Razia’s Shadow has the quality to maintain a stranglehold on your iPod rotation for weeks, and Dutton has proven he can create and orchestrate an album with the best of them. So curl up with your best pair of headphones and climb Razia, you’ll surely find your way out of the darkness and into the light.

Additional InformationTrack Listing:
1. Genesis ft. Casey Crescenzo
2. The Missing Piece ft. Lizzie Huffman
3. Life Is Looking Up
4. The Spider and The Lamps ft. Max Bemis
5. Toba The Tura ft. Chris Conley
6. The Oracle ft. Danny Stevens
7. A Thousand Year, Minute-Long Intermission ft. Danny Stevens
8. The Exit ft. Brendon Urie and Dan Young
9. It’s True Love ft. Greta Salpeter
10. Meet The King ft. Greta Salpeter and Nic Newsham
11. Holy The Sea ft. John Gourley and Kris Ayana
12. Doctor Doctor ft. Shawn Harris
13. The End and The Beginning ft. Greta Salpeter and Brendon Urie
Produced by: Casey Bates

Forgive Durden are:
Thomas Dutton – vocals, guitar, bass, percussion, trumpet
Paul Dutton – other instruments
Rudy Gajadhar – drums

List of characters:
O The Scientist - Casey Crescenzo (The Dear Hunter)
Bawaba Brothers - John Baldwin Gourley (Portugal. The Man), Kris Anaya (An Angle)
Narrator - Aaron Weiss (mewithoutYou)
Gargul The Oracle - Danny Stevens (The Audition)
Toba the Tura - Chris Conley (Saves the Day)
Sangara - Daniel Young (This Providence)
Barayas the Spider - Max Bemis (Say Anything)
Princess Anhura - Greta Salpeter (The Hush Sound)
Pallis - Brendon Urie (Panic at the Disco)
King Malka - Nic Newsham (Gatsbys American Dream)
Doctor Dumaya - Shawn Harris (The Matches)
Nidria - Lizzie Huffman (Man in the Blue Van)
Adakias - Thomas Dutton (Forgive Durden)
Ahrima - Thomas Dutton (Forgive Durden)

Buy now @

Official Website; Official Album Website; Official Myspace; Official AP.net Profile

 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 198
11:11 PM on 10/27/08
#2
Jamos4184
www.facebook.com/attalusmusic
Online
User Info.
Jamos4184's Avatar
Loved Wonderland. I've never been a big fan of musicals in any format, but I will definitely give this a shot. Half because of this review. Nice work, Drew.
11:25 PM on 10/27/08
#3
Danlol
a warm december with you
Offline
User Info.
Danlol's Avatar
I was pretty impressed with this,

Aaron's narration really makes the album in a lot of ways, or at least the end.

Agree about the cheese in some of the lyrics, especially in parts of "The End and the Beginning" with the whole fight scene.

Overall though, i really enjoyed it. Something you can escape into for an hour.
11:26 PM on 10/27/08
#4
MyWorldEntire
COYRS
Offline
User Info.
MyWorldEntire's Avatar
This is a very difficult album to review, I commend you Drew for doing an excellent job with it.
11:41 PM on 10/27/08
#5
Shieldyoureyes7
Registered User
Offline
User Info.
Shieldyoureyes7's Avatar
I really enjoy this album, although I kind of find the story hard to get in to. I agree on the cheesy lyrics but (and this is totally generalized) traditionally, musical lyrics tend to be on the cheesier side, so I guess maybe he is just being true to form. Overall I am really impressed with what this guy pulled off, just thinking about trying to put this together makes my head ache. Great review, by the way, nice blending of casual and professional.
11:49 PM on 10/27/08
#6
Imperfektion
All I need are sounds of ecstasy.
Offline
User Info.
Imperfektion's Avatar
Great job Drew. Excellent album and review.
11:51 PM on 10/27/08
#7
Spenny
Hearts without chains.
Offline
User Info.
Spenny's Avatar
Nice review. I obviously think it deserves mid-90s, but to each their own.
11:55 PM on 10/27/08
#8
Spenny
Hearts without chains.
Offline
User Info.
Spenny's Avatar
Oh and what did you think of the tracks that weren't mentioned Drew, like The Oracle, The Exit and Holy the Sea?
01:08 AM on 10/28/08
#9
Chris Fallon
Boom.
Offline
User Info.
Chris Fallon's Avatar
Ambitious and interesting, I love what Thomas did here and I think it will take a number of listens to completely take it all in. There is a lot here to consume as a listener.

Difficult album to review, so hats off to you for doing it well, Drew.
01:13 AM on 10/28/08
drivingthru
Regular Member
Offline
User Info.
drivingthru's Avatar
Ambitious and interesting, I love what Thomas did here and I think it will take a number of listens to completely take it all in. There is a lot here to consume as a listener.

Difficult album to review, so hats off to you for doing it well, Drew.

agreed. took me a good 6 or 7 listens to really get the story down, but the album is amazing.

best thing fueled by ramen has ever released?
01:56 AM on 10/28/08
Ryzenfall
makin' good time
Offline
User Info.
Ryzenfall's Avatar
Great review! Props again for taking this on.

(not sure if you care about these things but i think that should be "whether or not Dutton succesfully...")

Danny Stevens wasn't mentioned but I thought he did a pretty good job as well. And you are right, Greta really did stand out. I have this entire album stuck in my head and i couldn't be happier about it.
02:09 AM on 10/28/08
Sic Transit Zeb
Registered User
Offline
User Info.
Sic Transit Zeb's Avatar
Good review Drew, this one had to be tough to do.
02:10 AM on 10/28/08
Sic Transit Zeb
Registered User
Offline
User Info.
Sic Transit Zeb's Avatar
I was pretty impressed with this,

Aaron's narration really makes the album in a lot of ways, or at least the end.

Agree about the cheese in some of the lyrics, especially in parts of "The End and the Beginning" with the whole fight scene.

Overall though, i really enjoyed it. Something you can escape into for an hour.

mewithoutYou rules. Pumped for the new album.
02:37 AM on 10/28/08
tait
@
Offline
User Info.
tait's Avatar
great review for a great album. it definitely took me multiple listens to get the story down but now i love it.
03:44 AM on 10/28/08
Klatzke
Don't give me no hand me down love.
Offline
User Info.
Klatzke's Avatar
Good review. I was afraid it was going to come in with a high-90s score.

You did it justice.

NEWS, MUSIC & MORE
Search News
Release Dates
Exclusives
Best New Music
Articles
CONNECT
Submit News
Forums
Contests
Mobile Version
AP.net Logos
HIDDEN TREASURES
AbsolutePunk Podcast
Free Music
Sports Forum
Technology Forum
Recommendations
INFORMATION
Advertising
Contact Us
Copyright Policy
Terms of Service
Privacy Policy
FOLLOW
Twitter | Facebook | RSS
PropertyOfZack
UnderTheGun
Purevolume
Chorus.fm | @jason_tate