February 6, 2011

Review: Null Paradox-The Onion and The Ants: Gertrude and Grace

Null Paradox is a progressive rock band launching into a full scale project that consists of a trilogy of music albums and accompanying books, the first being The Onion and the Ants: Gertrude and Grace.. The book is authored by Tom Libertiny, who also plays guitar, keyboards and bass on the recording.

The rest of the band is Crystal Sherry (vocals), Chris Mick (lead guitar), Jack Rye (guitars and backing vocals), Dave Ziozios (drums) and Mark Beverly (trumpet).

What you find most striking immediately is the powerful vocals of Crystal Sherry. She is clear and crisp with plenty of emotion and sexuality mixed in to draw you in and keep you focused on every word and note on the 10 tracks. The album opens with “Valentines Day”, which is a possible indicator that this is some sort of love story, but is it? It is the spark that lights the fire for everything else you are about to hear and no doubt a very good choice for a lead off track. When Sherry sings on “Small” “How can anyone save me when I can’t even save myself” you feel it, her pain reaches out to you and you want to be her knight in shining armor. That kind of outreach to a listener is real and it comes right from the gut on a beeline to the heart.

One of the real rockers is “Black and White”, it’s not a complex piece but again the lyrics make a point well taken and the supporting musicianship is outstanding. It’s the kind of song you would have heard on a 70s AOR (album oriented rock) station, right alongside all the classics from Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and all the other rock heavyweights of the day. A complete turnaround is “My Sweet Hell” which takes a gentler road musically, and that is the irony of it considering the title however isn’t that the point? Its cynical, there is nothing sweet about hell but Sherry and the band paint that picture very well and just enough to be dangerous.
The entire concept of this project defines the word progressive and the music is a good mixture of straight ahead rock and progressive. The most progressive track for my ears is “Ord Festival”. The huge bottom end is driven by a rhythm section seemingly born to play it, followed by sharp guitar lines, keyboards, and of course stellar vocals. When you tally up the scorecard it gets high marks and serves as one of the centerpiece tracks.
I love every aspect of this album, every track gives me insight into a story and I really appreciated the fine musicianship provided throughout this CD. Most importantly is the voice of Null Paradox, Crystal Sherry, she is the focal point, the one factor that makes the story so real. This is huge because she is the one telling it so that is a good thing.

The Onion and The Ants: Gertrude and Grace is a superb album with a great future ahead of it. This will find regular rotation in my stereo and on my iTunes. For rock and prog fans what’s not to like here? I think Null Paradox has found musical perfection in the land of the onion and the ants.

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks- Valentines Day, Black and White, Ord Festival

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck

February 5, 2011

01. Valentines Day
02. Small
03. Black and White
04. My Sweet Hell
05. The Ministry
06. Freedom
07. The Cell
08. Ord Festival
09. Orange and Purple Paradox
10. Glass Desert

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