Swiss prog outfit RAK set out a pretty ambitious stall from the off here. The none-more-prog, sci-fi cover of their second album is another triumph for Marillion/Fish artist Mark Wilkinson, and the songtitles create galactic expectations too. Subtitled The Ascent and split into three chapters, Volume I refers to the myth of Sisyphus, Icarus and Jonah, all in the first verse.
Musically RAK cite influences from Genesis and Gentle Giant to Tool and Symphony X, but as promising as all this sounds Lepidoptera II – The Book Of Flight falls short of its epic promise.
There are strong moments: Volume III: The Book Of Flight is muscular; keys, bass and guitar are in proggy lockstep on Volume IV: The Deception and keyboardist Marc Grassi delivers some authentic sounds (the intro to Volume V: The Descent is pure Vangelis).
Frustratingly, these are overshadowed by nagging flaws. Guitarist Stefan Gabele’s enthusiastic lead lines often take you out of the music rather than draw you in, and even Jens Bogren’s mastering can’t patch up an unsuitably raw production job, with Dave ‘Zoz’ Thwaites’ vocals frequently indistinct amid the multitrack murk.
RAK have grandiose prog trappings, but overall this effort stalls where it should soar.