Sons of Ra are an instrumental jazz rock fusion band from Chicago, Illinois. Their sound incorporates elements of heavy rock and progressive metal inspired by classic jazz roots. Sons of Ra are always down to experiment and push the boundaries of genre limitations. Since the release of their 2020 EP Cognitive, the band has mostly existed in a live improvisational space. They play shows, festivals, and events in the Chicago area, livestream performances, and join radio programs. Whatever the form, the joy of live performance is deeply entrenched in the soul of this band.

Now Sons of Ra are back to share another release with the world. Tropic of Cancer is a single cohesive piece in six parts. Across its 23-minute runtime, Tropic of Cancer is immersive and engaging. Today we’re excited to premiere the video for “Part IV”. This is a unique glimpse into the midpoint of a profound adventurous work that will certainly leave listeners curious to experience the entire composition.

This otherworldly video mixes colorful visualizations with live performance. It also serves to showcase some guest performers contributing to this project. As guitarist Erik Oldman reveals, ‘The fourth part is really the crown jewel of the suite. The design of the entire piece is to take the listener on a journey and this one really veers off into a world of different sonic textures and tonalities with the violins, additional guitar, and pipa (Chinese Lute). It really is the fullest expression of the sum of Sons of Ra at a compositional level.’

“Part IV” certainly has an alien, out-of-this-world feel to it. There is a lot going on instrumentally in this section. The guest features on violin and lute wonderfully complement the already lush soundscapes being explored by the main band’s guitar and drum work. The effect truly is one of a journey into the unknown. Sons of Ra are transporting us perhaps not only to foreign lands, but another celestial terrain entirely. It is off-putting, but in the engaging way of being thrown out of your element desperately searching to find firm ground on which to stand.

Whereas rock and metal sometimes incorporate jazz elements into their song structure or contain the occasional saxophone feature, and jazz sporadically ventures into darker themes with heavier instrumentation, Sons of Ra are very comfortable exploring both worlds fully. In that sense they truly are a fusion, creating something freshly novel out of seemingly disparate parts.

Sons of Ra will self-release Tropic Of Cancer on 12” vinyl, CD, and digitally next Friday, April 19. Find preorders and merch here, and digital presaves here. Also, watch the prior videos for “Tropic Of Cancer Part I” here and “Tropic Of Cancer Part III” here.

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