Home Read Albums Of The Week: Rainbows Are Free | Heavy Petal Music

Albums Of The Week: Rainbows Are Free | Heavy Petal Music

The Oklahoma heavyweights cherrypick the finest moments from their back catalog on a live album that showcases their high-energy brand of psychedelic space-rock.

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Heavy Petal Music by Rainbows Are Free is a live retrospective of the band’s 15-year discography, featuring a comprehensive sampling from their three  studio albums, as well as a few rarities performed from their eponymous self-released demo EP.

The album was recorded live at the Summer Breeze music festival in RAF’s home town of Norman, OK on Aug. 8, 2021 — their first live performance after the pandemic. The band’s pent-up energy bursts forth from the stage and through the speakers like a six-headed hydra that just broke free from its bonds after being confined to darkness for nearly two years.

Like A River We Will Roll is an early song off the band’s first recording. It highlights the band’s psychedelic, drone, and experimental synth influences that have factored into the unique sonic translation of cosmic frequencies that RAF provides to the heavy underground.

Sonic Demon a hard-hitting homage to the unicorn-headed demon Amduscias, associated with infernal music of hell and the ability to summon storms with its thunderous voice. This is an all-out rocker with multiple solo breaks, anthemic backing vocals, and the snarling leads provided by singer Brandon Kistler, who embodies the stygian force of the lyrical muse.

Crystal Ball is another rare time travel offering written by the band in 2007. Thie version performed by the contemporary RAF lineup exhibits groove-laden riffage building to a frenzied crescendo as executed by the band at the top of their game. If you’ve ever seen RAF live, the outro mayhem of Crystal Ball is likely seared into your psyche like a sonic branding iron.

Rainbows Are Free’s sonic locus on the rock ’n’ roll family tree sits at the point where proto-metal and heavy psychedelia shared a common apocryphal ancestor before branching off into their own distinct lineages. They formed in 2007 as the conglomerate of several long-time heavy rock bands from Norman, OK. In February 2008, RAF self-released an eponymous demo EP. A year later they began work on their debut album Believers In Medicine, released in 2010. They followed up in 2014 with their second album Waves Ahead of the Ocean. Their third album Head Pains firmly established them as a mainstay of underground heaviness while further exhibiting the band’s unique voice, setting them apart from contemporaries with whom they’ve shared the stage (High on Fire, Dead Meadow, St. Vitus, The Sword, Big Business, Pallbearer, Kylesa, etc.).

Often appearing in costumes, the band, fronted by the soaring and snarling cyclone of weirdness that is Kistler, continue to shock and amaze fans with their theatrics and sonic assault. This is achieved in no small part due to the guitar prowess and songwriting of Richie Tarver, joined by the ambient soundscapes of Joey Powell on rhythm guitar, and the thunderous low end of Jason Smith on bass and Bobby Onspaugh on drums, with Josh Elam on synth.”