- Album Reviews

Tolerance – When Time Stops

There I was, bored to death one day, and was contemplating  jumping off from…well…from my sofa, because I don’t want to commit suicide yet. The culprit was musical frustration. Why? I wanted something fresh, something  new for my ears, and then I stumbled upon a band named Tolerance with their debut album “When Time Stops”. So instead of jumping down from the sofa, I decided to jump inside this album and have a look at who the band are and what they possess.

Tolerance is a Venezuelan band that was formed in 2003 by the current vocalist Ricardo Figueroa and drummer Ricardo Nunez. The band initially experimented with a lot of different lineups and after ten years of wandering around and experimentation, they finally managed to record their debut album “When Time Stops”, a beautiful blend of rock, metal, funk, jazz and electronic sounds. The current lineup of the band has Ricardo Figueroa on vocals, Carlos Cabrices on the guitars, Ricardo Nunez on the drums and Antonio Ramirez on the keyboards. A highlight of this album is collaboration of the band with different musicians from Venezuela including three bassists for different tracks throughout the album. The album was recorded in Caracas, Venezuela and mastered in Nashville, Tennessee.

Enough about the exteriors,  now let me give you my impression of the debut album under review…

The album kicks off with a track called Lutin with an interrupted start pattern through few seconds of the intro, but then really kicks in with an eastern feel to it that just straightaway got me up from my seat, realizing that what I am listening to has real potential. Next you  will get a vibe similar to something by Dream Theater followed by just perfect vocals by Ricardo Figueroa that fit right into the whole scenario. The overall feel of this band can easily be perceived by this track, they are not your regular straight line travelers, rather they would like to take detours along their journey. The musical notes throughout the track are reminiscent of something you might have heard before but with a lot of eastern elements injected into it just at the right time, and the solo for this track by Carlos Cabrices is melodious down to the bone. You know that moment when you can clearly and easily identify talent, I got that feel instantly and I said to me “this is going to be good”.

The next track, When Time Stops, sounds like something from a rock band that are trying to make a point, and then you can hear the melodious vocals by Ricardo. This track particularly has a very sweet sounding chorus and I think it is mainly because of the beauty of the vocals which, if you are like me, you will surely appreciate. The clarity of bass and the strumming towards the end will boast the good production value of this album and the track will end in a very Joe Satriani-ish way.

Different Skies spontaneously takes over the proceedings in a totally progressive manner but the feel you will get is an over the top mixture of Rock and Metal. The track is fast paced but will know where to hit you to please you. At nine minutes, it has everything for everyone, much like Santa’s bag of goodies. Nearing the midway it will transform into something you might’ve heard from your classical metal bands and the piano interlude…..Ah…it just took me to a different place altogether since I wasn’t expecting it at all , especially with the infusion of the bluesy guitar notes. The solo by Carlos is a classical shredded short piece and you will for the first time hear the talent from Antonio Ramirez on the keyboards as both of them will take you to a short trip of alternate music playing, much like something by Liquid Tension Experiment.

Drifted will bring down the tone of the album. For me this is my favorite track from this album for many reasons. Firstly it is composed in a way to fit right into a progressive metal album’s middle when you really are in need of something like this. The keyboard notes and the guitar notes are something that might raise those tiny hair follicles behind your neck for sure, proving the bands talent  once and for all. If you are not yet sold by the band’s talent, this track might be the one that proves it to you.

The next track, Blind Spot, starts off with the bass notes you were wanting to hear in this album, a very Dave Matthews sounding start to this song but the secret is continuous following of the main genre i.e. Progressive Metal with fusion of Jazz. The last two minutes of this track is a show down between the drummer Rodrigo Nunez and  Guitarist Carlos Cabrices, and the track ends exactly like something by Dream Theater.

Meeting the Path will returns the album to its true progressive nature with a very good combination of progressive rock and progressive metal at the same time. Throughout the album Ricardo Figuero will show you how good his vocals are, not in terms of harmony but also in terms of his vocal range, and this track is no different. Great guitar work by Carlos Cabrices with sweeping notes and shredding notes all intermingled.

The second last track, Beware of the Birds, has a very good progression of power chords in the background with the keyboards complimenting the guitars and the drumming just in tandem. I don’t know if it’s me or these guys seem to be real big fans of Dream Theater because there are moments throughout the album where it is a little hard to distinguish whether you are really listening to them or DT. The third minute of this track is a highlight within itself, another showdown between Carlos Cabrices and Rodrigo Nunez.

The last track on the album is called The Greatest Plan, another lengthy track on this album lasting nine minutes. The track will perfectly sum up the whole album in terms of what the band is in terms of genre, in terms of variations, in terms of the band’s musical influences and in terms of how the band has that ability to start a journey and then explore everything along the way, even if they have to take a long route to be back on track.

To sum up everything, Tolerance is a band you’ll listen to maybe an extra few times to really get a feel of what they are planning to do to you in terms of music. The first listen might be mysterious and eerie to you but the successive listens will clear out all the fogged out questions that might be raised inside your head. The production value throughout the album is excellent, and if you talk about individual talents, Ricardo Figeuroa has done an amazing job with his vocals: subtle, controlled and singing like a boss (if you have to use slang). The Guitarist in Carlos Cabrices is a maestro who has the ability to mix every element into a masterpiece of his own. Rodrigo Nunez has his moments of greatness with the drums and not to forget the very talented Antonio Ramirez on keyboards. What the band will sound like to you? Honestly I would have to say much like DT but you will also be able to appreciate elements of jazz and classic metal, jazz because Cabrices studied modern jazz harmony with a famous Venezuelan Jazz Maestro Gerry Weil. Entertainment is guaranteed, but for only the select few who can really appreciate the true progressive metal that has the ability to mix and work well with other genres of rock and metal music.

Additional Musicians: 

Henry Paul:  Bass on “Blind Spot”, ”Drifted” and “When Time Stops”.

Enrique Perez:  Bass on “Beware Of The Birds”, “Different Skies” and “Lutin”.

Pepe Perez Rivero:  Bass on “Meeting The Path” and “Greatest Plan”.

Valter Izzo:  Violin on “Lutin” and “Greatest Plan”.

Mariangela Travieso:  Cello on “Lutin”.


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