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Channeled - Album Review: Channeled

24 Sep 2019 // A review by Steve Shyu

Ben Ruegg, a fellow contributor to Muzic.net.nz, an artist who's been creating music since he was 8 has, at long last, taken the leap and created his debut album, produced under the name Channeled. Influenced by all forms of music and genres, he set out to create an LP that literally channels his inner consciousness and let his musical creations do the talking. The eleven-track album is due to be released in a couple more months, and I had the privilege of hearing what Ben has been conjuring up over the past three years.

Straight away, the flavour of the album is strikingly alternative-rock, infused with the essence of the 2000’s. The mission statement is set out in the form of energetic, open-chord distorted guitar matched with mid-tempo rock drumbeats. The opening tune Bring It Back Again feels like it was lifted straight out of the late 1990’s or early 2000’s; vocal style of Scott Weiland, guitar tone of Dave Grohl and the lyrics celebrating success and the future.

For those, like myself, who listened to rock, heavy metal and pop punk of the 2000’s, you’ll find more than a few audibly familiar fibres, most noticeable is the guitar work and vocal delivery. Throughout the album, Ben’s voice ranges from a teenage Cobain (best exemplified in the final choruses of The End) to a moody and introspective Jon Toogood (verses of Deeper).

The guitar work is worthy of mention; I have personally always been a supporter of making a song sound good instead of letting instrumental technicality do all the talking. The solos and chord progressions are well-thought out, and whilst not complex, contribute nicely to the ebb and flows of a song, like on track 3, Just Say It.

At this point, a personal commendation must be given for Death Knell, the sombre and post-apocalyptic electronic piece. Not only does it help paints a dark heart into the album, it also serves as a breathing spot, albeit a bleak-sounding one, midway through the LP.

The album’s lyrics span a wide variety of subjects – From the foreboding When We’re Gone, addressing climate change, relation struggles in Storm, and lamenting the quality of modern music on album closer If I Had a Delorean. Certainly not a dull exploration of personal and social problems and everything in between, the lyrics themselves at times feel predictable, especially on the final track. Overly-frank lines such as “And then we got caught up with life and shit, but the fire never died” became distracting to what is otherwise an upbeat and bittersweet homage to one’s good old days.

In all, for an album created and produced solely by one person, the recording quality and songwriting is truly incredible. In a few places, theatrical or atmospheric additions are injected, by way of police sirens (song 4, Slow But Steady), or air-raid horns (on song The End). The theatrical edge is bumped further with the addition of interludes and instrumentals, such as Death Knell and Remember, respectively.

Following a few listening-rounds, I found as I reached the album’s end, for the first time in several months, I was eager to give it a full spin again from start to finish. Guess those hits of nostalgia got me in the feels after all! If Mr Ruegg’s goal was to help revive the 2000’s alternative rock sound, he’s certainly done just that.

You can follow Ben’s journey and support his musical creations by contributing to his Kickstarter campaign HERE.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )

About Channeled

Channeled is ready to release the new album entitled I Heard Penelope Sing.

The new album is truly a sign of the changes that have taken place in Ben’s life. Just listen to tracks like A Conversation With You, Is That Glass? or I Can’t Quite Put My Finger On It and you will know what we are talking about here. In fact, those who heard the album before it’s release were all surprised with the direction the new music went.

The name of the album is semi-inspired by his love of people not being afraid to sing their hearts out. Music is about the experience; one best shared. It's inspiring to hear others write songs and sing them because they love it. So many of us do this in our own homes.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Channeled


I Heard Penelope Sing
Year: 2020
Type: Album
Year: 2019
Type: Album

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