“Cycle of Itheria”, the new concept EP by RT-Projekt, showcases composition and arrangement by Rainer Thanner, alternating vocals by Oli Kobl and Steffi Bauer, as well as epic guitars by Oli Zangl and lyrics by Frank de Blijen. Written in the four acts, each with a short prelude, the recording tells the story of the Itherians (Oli Kobl): Their home planet lies in a foreign galaxy, and after they found peace, they set out into space to search for alien life forms and to bring peace there too. They come to Earth, and here they discover that it is utterly necessary to do something about the dispute. They succeed: the earthlings (Steffi Bauer) gladly accept their advice. It is an optimistic vision in which the key to a peaceful life lies in love, forbearance and forgiveness.
A 7-time winner at the German Rock & Pop Awards, here RT-Projekt have retained the central assets that made their previous glorious works so incisive, and they’ve added a certain heavier panache, which proves their ongoing desire to evolve.
That constant development is part of what that makes this unit such a special act. They’ve evolved from a simple, unrestrained home studio project, to having a knack for complex writing, and richly layered songs with embracing, emotionally wrought vocals.
Part of their charm lies in their ability to construct intricate songs around what appear to be minimalist musical motifs. Take this recording, which is built around simple percussion riff, before multi-layered keyboards, dense guitars, and soaring vocals slowly build the musical pieces to inevitable crescendos.
You can imagine that “Cycle of Itheria” will be unstoppable when performed live. Far too many bands’ lyrics are an afterthought, but RT-Projekt songs are driven by lyrics that are well thought-out, and their star shines all the brighter for it.
Right from the outset, this is a fearless, consistently interesting, and beautifully executed recording that is sure to be cherished by pop and rock fans. “Cycle of Itheria” is an exquisite composition that’s enhanced by the stunning alternating male-female vocals, narrating the EP’s theme, and the explosive guitar work by Oli Zangl.
RT-Projekt continues moving into heavier territory while keeping their signature emotive atmosphere. Impressively, most of the tracks follow this formula, frequently transitioning from subtlety to breakneck energy.
Even the more aggressive upbeat sections end up conveying a good deal of emotion and power, comprised of constantly shifting dynamics between light and heavy. Ultimately, the dynamic tracks end up being one of “Cycle of Itheria’s” biggest triumphs, never losing sight of its vision or purpose.
As it flips between heavier guitar-driven flavors, cinematic orchestrations and electronic synth flourishes, “Cycle of Itheria” seems to be RT-Projekt’s statement that they don’t care about genres or expectations, and that they just want to make the best music they can and transcend listener expectations.
This makes the 2o minute recording especially satisfying, and a resounding success, as RT-Projekt walks a thin line between progressive rock, pop and alternative pop and several other types of music.
The band has time to stretch itself out and create a chilling soundscape, across “Cycle of Itheria” led by expansive composing by Rainer Thanner, with Oli Zangl exploring both ends of his guitar, while Oli Kobl and Steffi Bauer gives us some of the most delicious lead vocals.