Richard Zeier's Phenomenation is a cleanly produced, mostly instrumental album that incorporates sounds from rock, classical, new age, and electronica. The album is well composed and Zeier's guitar work is superb. Each of the thirteen tracks explores emotional locations that combine to create an overall sound that at once transcends time and location yet feels very familiar and accessible.
The album opens with "Rainbow Nebula," which features an ethereal beginning followed by layers of acoustic and electric guitar under laid by a rhythmic bass line and interspersed with piano. The sound is upbeat yet underscored with darker rhythms and melodies that suggest you are entering a textured and complex musical world. That multi-layered sound appears throughout the album and gives Zeier's work a cinematic feel: each of these tracks suggests plots and complexities that extend beyond the song itself, and is telling only part of a larger story.
For those of you looking for Zeier's straight-up, rock the stadium electric guitar, Zeier indulges the need with the bluesy song "The Journey," the funky "Z-Factor," and the first half of "Cloud Painter." However, the album overall does not limit itself to one genre, instead favoring towards tight compositions and covering a variety of styles and moods. "Rite of Passage" and "New World" have an orchestral sound and forgo the guitar in favor of violins, drums, and choral singers to create a sound that is both optimistic and sinister in a way that classical music is able to that rock and roll just can't do in the same way.
Phenomenation is an excellent musical journey through time and space and a deep showcase of Zeier's musical ability. This is the best of cinematic rock: whether it's on your MP3 player or in your favorite films I have no doubt you'll be hearing a lot of Phenomenation and Richard Zeier.