Showing posts with label Instrumental Rock Reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Instrumental Rock Reviews. Show all posts

4/29/2021

Instrumental Rock Review: Marty Freidman-Tokyo Jukebox 3

Release Date: April 16, 2021
Label: 2021 Mascot Label Group / The Players Club  
Website

Hot off the presses of his latest installment, now a trilogy of his Tokyo Jukebox collection, Marty Freidman kicks it into high gear with Tokyo Jukebox 3. The album is Friedman’s take on many J-Pop hits that burst at the seams with his guitar shredding skills emboldening with his traditional techniques. Marty even went as far as to go all-out traditional stylings for the album artwork. Dressed in a kimono and kabuki make-up, the guitarist finds himself exploring every possible facet of Japanese culture in the making and styling of this record.
 
Now to the music. As the lead guitarist for one of rock and metal’s most notable and revolutionary band, Megadeath, Marty Friedman contributed to much of the success of the group at the height of their career for 10 years; until eventually leaving the band in 2000. To this day, Friedman resides in Tokyo, Japan where he has become a household name, and dabbled in Japanese government affairs, all while maintaining several album releases and touring multiple times since his move overseas.

Tokyo Jukebox 3
stands alone from traditional heavy metal music. Oftentimes, at least from my experience, thrash-metal/speed-metal bands and their albums tend to have a feature of identical sound where, if there is no lengthy pause between tracks, it remains unknown to the listener that a new song has begun. Friedman, being the aficionado that he is with his guitar, combines his skill and precision of thrash-metal with J-Pop melodies to create something truly unique. His capability not only to make every track sound different and leave a little wonder in each track is stunning.

“Makenaide” starts mainly as traditional Friedman’s work would show, with a consistent powerhouse guitar playing just with some J-Pop melody thrown in. On “Senbonzakura,” you get your first dose of change-ups and nuances. As the song plays, it feels like a crescendo with a sudden brief lull, only to pick right back up again and burst around the four-minute mark. The short and mystifying release of a lighter guitar-playing shocks the listener to engage in amazement. “Gurenge” while not a personal stand-out track, plays well to keep the listener’s interest and sensation going, especially as Freidman goes full-on beast-mode throughout.


“Kaze Ga Fuiteiru” sounds like a combination of a sing-song poem, rock concert, and cartoon series theme song all blended into one. Marty told of one of one of his near and dear friend’s opinions of the track, calling it…rightly, ‘grand and elegant.’ It’s almost as if the piece is written into three different stages. “Echo” is a breakaway from the chaotic thrashing in the beginning, with an intriguing static radio-play. As it plays through, it’s a cool back-and-forth between traditional thrashing and easier mellow strumming; once again, built back up to powerful chords to end out the song.

“The Perfect World, featuring Alfakyun” is the only vocal track but very captivating in dreaming of one day finding the perfection they are longing for. It’s a piece that could strike at the heart of any listener not only for the purpose of love but, perfection overall; particularly in the times that we had been facing this past year with the pandemic. “U.S.A.,” rightly titled, is an epic story-teller piece that hits every high note imaginable along with the 4-minute tune while engaging the listener for more.

“Shukumei” pairs well with “Gurenge” while it offers quite a few different opportunities for more somber or dramatic moments. “Shukumei” has several different tones to it whereas, “Gurenge” is more neutral sounding. ”Ikuze Kaitou-Shoujo” is possibly the heaviest-loaded track on the album. Not only would it appeal to the J-Pop fan base and thrash-metal crew alike, but it strikes a chord with the heaviest of rockers and metal-enthusiasts too.

Things begin winding down on “Sazanka,” or at least as the song begins. It has a little aggressiveness to its sound but, not nearly what the rest of the album entails. It is a very soothing record on the album with the keyboard as its supporter to the guitar match-up. “Time Goes By” keeps with the more steady and mellowed tonality. However, it seems to be more somber with points of crescendos and climaxes to build up intensity and excitement for the track. All the while, the ending becomes a surprise fade-out which separates the song from the rest of the record. The last song, “Japan Heritage Official Theme Song,” is a lighter, airy, and free-sounding lead-out track. The strings to this record give it a balanced and unique twist that actually compliments the rest of the record quite nicely.

Tokyo Jukebox 3 is one of those records where initially you may not think there is a spot in YOUR ear for this album, yet there is truly something for a wide variety of listeners. Marty Freidman remains on top of his game when completing this trio of ‘jukebox’ jams.

Gregg Keniston - MuzikMan.net Staff
April 26, 2021

Track Listing:
01. Makenaide
02. Senbonzakura
03. Gurenge
04. Kaze Ga Fuiteiru
05. Echo
06. The Perfect World (feat. ALfakyun)
07. U.S.A.
08. Shukumei
09. Ikuze Kaitou-Shoujo
10. Sazanka
11. Time Goes By
12. Japan Heritage Official Theme Song

2/21/2020

Instrumental Rock Review: Sammy Boller-Kingdom of The Sun

Release Date: March 20th, 2020
Label: Candyrat Records
Website


It takes a lot of talent and some good promotion to cut through all the noise of social media and the zillion other artists out there vying for your attention. If you do not have a hit on today’s radio stations and you play instrumental rock, well, let’s just say the chances of you becoming the next Joe Satriani are slim to none.

There are some exceptions to that rule and every once in a while, then some young six-string gunslinger gets my undivided attention. Let me introduce you to Sammy Boller. Never heard of him? Well, I didn’t either but now that has changed and it will for you too once you hear his killer new album Kingdom of The Sun.

Make no mistake, this guy is smokin’ hot people! He is one of the best I have heard in some time. The single and title track “Kingdom of the Sun” was released on January 17, 2020. It is an amazing track that rocks start to finish with some great melodicism albeit at lightning speed. The album drops on March 20th and a limited vinyl run will be available as well. It will sound amazing on vinyl, considering how great my digital copy sounds right now, I would not give it a second thought getting the 33rpm platter.

In one of the statements in his one sheet one person says “He is a state-of-the-art rock guitarist.” I would agree with that 100%. A lot is going on with those fingers and he sounds like two players going full tilt instead of one. The sound he creates is crisp, clean and it is always filled with rhythm, and every track offers something different with sound, emotion, color, and atmospheres. When I hear talent like this it sounds so pure, like the man was born to do this and nothing else. His gifts are obvious after one listen to Kingdom of The Sun. Sammy grew up wanting to be Randy Rhodes and Eddie Van Halen, well it sure looks as though he is showing a powerful combination of both of those influences.

Sammy also is a regular contributor with his article Secrets of Shred with Guitar World Magazine, which has a loyal following. So, he is willing to share his knowledge with his readers so they can learn how to play as he does. I wish you the best with that and you had better get a Metronome!

On 11 tracks of superb guitar virtuosity, Sammy takes a listener on an instrumental rocket ride. His playing is on a level few ever attain. I felt immediately turned on with his sound but also found familiarity with what I was hearing. I am a big Satch fan so it was easy for me to dive into this but it had to be exceptional right out the gate without it subsiding. The energy level of every track is top-notch, it just comes at you in many different paces with different spaces being filled in the most superlative way.

One of my favorite tracks and a great example of Sammy’s talent is “Temple of Time.” He coaxes some amazing sounds out of his well-worn electric six-string. The track exudes a power that is simply electric with pinpoint accuracy. If you enjoy guitar-oriented instrumental rock you will be playing Kingdom of The Sun a lot, I can guarantee it. Check out the stream provided of the title track single and video of Sammy playing “Cloak of Light.”

Kingdom of The Sun is an instant classic as far as I am concerned and you need to hear it if you like to rock, it is as simple as that.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck 

February 21, 2020

Review Provided By MuzikMan.net

Tracks: 
01. Kingdom of the Sun
02. Sunrise/Sunset
03. Cloak of Light
04. Iolite
05. For Madmen Only
06. Dark Night of the Soul
07. Illusions
08. The Empress
09. Mirror of the Heart
10. Temple of Time
11. Awakening From The Daydream

 









Founder of:


Instrumental Rock Review: Sammy Boller-Kingdom of The Sun

Release Date: March 20th, 2020
Label: Candyrat Records
Website


It takes a lot of talent and some good promotion to cut through all the noise of social media and the zillion other artists out there vying for your attention. If you do not have a hit on today’s radio stations and you play instrumental rock, well, let’s just say the chances of you becoming the next Joe Satriani are slim to none.

There are some exceptions to that rule and every once in a while, then some young six-string gunslinger gets my undivided attention. Let me introduce you to Sammy Boller. Never heard of him? Well, I didn’t either but now that has changed and it will for you too once you hear his killer new album Kingdom of The Sun.

Make no mistake, this guy is smokin’ hot people! He is one of the best I have heard in some time. The single and title track “Kingdom of the Sun” was released on January 17, 2020. It is an amazing track that rocks start to finish with some great melodicism albeit at lightning speed. The album drops on March 20th and a limited vinyl run will be available as well. It will sound amazing on vinyl, considering how great my digital copy sounds right now, I would not give it a second thought getting the 33rpm platter.

In one of the statements in his one sheet one person says “He is a state-of-the-art rock guitarist.” I would agree with that 100%. A lot is going on with those fingers and he sounds like two players going full tilt instead of one. The sound he creates is crisp, clean and it is always filled with rhythm, and every track offers something different with sound, emotion, color, and atmospheres. When I hear talent like this it sounds so pure, like the man was born to do this and nothing else. His gifts are obvious after one listen to Kingdom of The Sun. Sammy grew up wanting to be Randy Rhodes and Eddie Van Halen, well it sure looks as though he is showing a powerful combination of both of those influences.

Sammy also is a regular contributor with his article Secrets of Shred with Guitar World Magazine, which has a loyal following. So, he is willing to share his knowledge with his readers so they can learn how to play as he does. I wish you the best with that and you had better get a Metronome!

On 11 tracks of superb guitar virtuosity, Sammy takes a listener on an instrumental rocket ride. His playing is on a level few ever attain. I felt immediately turned on with his sound but also found familiarity with what I was hearing. I am a big Satch fan so it was easy for me to dive into this but it had to be exceptional right out the gate without it subsiding. The energy level of every track is top-notch, it just comes at you in many different paces with different spaces being filled in the most superlative way.

One of my favorite tracks and a great example of Sammy’s talent is “Temple of Time.” He coaxes some amazing sounds out of his well-worn electric six-string. The track exudes a power that is simply electric with pinpoint accuracy. If you enjoy guitar-oriented instrumental rock you will be playing Kingdom of The Sun a lot, I can guarantee it. Check out the stream provided of the title track single and video of Sammy playing “Cloak of Light.”

Kingdom of The Sun
is an instant classic as far as I am concerned and you need to hear it if you like to rock, it is as simple as that.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck 

February 21, 2020

Review Provided By MuzikMan.net

Tracks: 
01. Kingdom of the Sun
02. Sunrise/Sunset
03. Cloak of Light
04. Iolite
05. For Madmen Only
06. Dark Night of the Soul
07. Illusions
08. The Empress
09. Mirror of the Heart
10. Temple of Time
11. Awakening From The Daydream

 









Founder of:

2/09/2020

Instrumental Rock Review: Joe Satriani-Shapeshifting

Release Date: April 10, 2020

Label: Sony Music/Legacy Recordings

Website: http://www.satriani.com/

I always wonder what Satch will come up with next when he releases another album. You have to be a very creative guitar player to constantly come up with something new and exciting for your listeners. He manages to do that consistently. With Shapeshifting due out on April 10, 2020 he is sure not to disappoint.

There are thirteen tracks of instrumental ear candy to consume on this latest recording. Joe’s sound is distinct and very familiar to millions of rockers worldwide. I am among the longtime fans that stretch back to the 80s. When I was first turned on to his music, I could not forget it and wanted more. Joe has served us instrumental rock freaks well in his long and successful career.

Some notes from the press release FYI:
Shapeshifting was co-produced by Satriani and Jim Scott (Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers) with longtime associate John Cuniberti onboard handling the mastering duties. Satriani enlisted a wide range of collaborators, both old and new, to help him bring the songs to life. Legendary drummer Kenny Aronoff (John Fogerty), bassist Chris Chaney (Jane’s Addiction) and keyboardist Eric Caudieux were the core musicians on the new album with additional contributions coming from Lisa Coleman (The Revolution) and Christopher Guest.

So, there is no surprise that so many names in the industry are part of this. Just remember he is the guy that taught Steve Vai a few things, who is no slouch on the six-string either.

The production values of Shapeshifting are superb and what you would expect. Every song has a different style and pace to it, making sure every listener gets the variety they need to stay interested from beginning to end. Joe delivers the goods track to track. The album leads off with the title track and a high energy blast of some guitar magic that sets the right tone right from the start.

One of the more eclectic and interesting tracks is “Ali Farka, Dick Dale, an Alien and Me.” It gives thanks to those artists that Joe has admired and you certainly can hear the Dick Dale reference. Surf instrumental is so recognizable and Dale was one of the first innovators of the genre. I am not familiar with Farka’s work but because of that song I will have to do some investigating. If Joe likes him, chances are his work will be of great value to his listeners. As far as the Alien, I think it was that silver dude he was surfing with back in the early years of his career.

The first single “Nineteen Eighty” has some Eddie Van Halen types of riffs running through and it packs a punch through to the end, it is pure energy and excitement. After that explosion of six-string virtuosity, Joe slows things down a bit with “All My Friends Are Here.” It’s not slow but in terms of the way he plays, it is a few notches down from the previous track. It has some great hooks that are hard to ignore. It sounds like the kind of track you may hear sound bites of accompanying a sporting video, albeit in a sport that has plenty of movement.

All that energy and creativeness Joe has in his soul never subsides during this instrumental treasure trove of masterful six-string displays. This is vintage Satriani doing what he does best, just flat out jamming and bending those strings with a fluidness and command that few players can muster. He is and has been one of the premier rock guitarists for a long time and this recording takes its place alongside one of the great releases such as Surfing With The Alien for consistency of quality. I must reiterate, with the level of difficulty involved in putting out yet another all-instrumental album, this sets the bar extremely high for an artist like Joe. He is up for the challenge and plays like a man that is recording his swan song.

Diversity is the key to success. Tracks like the beautiful “Falling Stars” step away from the hard-charging rockers to show that he can do tasteful slower paced tracks with some funky licks interspersed between the rhythm section action. “Waiting” is even more expressive and a nice ballad that relates to the title with its slow start and pensive build-up that intimates some impatience but in a very nice way. It is one of the shorter jaunts clocking in at 2:37. Now if that wasn’t enough of a change, he kicks into high gear with some reggae chops on “Here The Blue River.” He also mixes in the rockin’ side of his playing to the blend with the reggae back beat which continues as the foundation. The multi-layered tracking is amazing with some great effects, making the track the most varied sounding on the entire album.

And just when you thought you heard just about every style imaginable he closes out with “Yesterday’s Yesterday,” a country-fried journey that rings true with the jangling strings and the old western atmosphere it hints at. In many ways, if you played this for long time fans, they may be hard-pressed to peg Joe as the artist.

In the end, the curtain closes and Joe Satriani wins you over again with the superior quality and all the incredible guitar playing on display on this fine album. His ongoing maturity is evident with each subsequent release and he surely is the ultimate Shapeshifting guitar man.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
February 8, 2020


Founder of:




Review Provided By MuzikMan.net

Tracks:
01. Shapeshifting
02. Big Distortion
03. All For Love
04. Ali Farka, Dick Dale, an Alien and Me
05. Teardrops
06. Perfect Dust
07. Nineteen Eighty
08. All My Friends Are Here
09. Spirits, Ghosts and Outlaws
10. Falling Stars
11. Waiting
12. Here The Blue River
13. Yesterday’s Yesterday




Instrumental Rock Review: Joe Satriani-Shapeshifting

Release Date: April 10, 2020
Label: Sony Music/Legacy Recordings
Website: http://www.satriani.com/


I always wonder what Satch will come up with next when he releases another album. You have to be a very creative guitar player to constantly come up with something new and exciting for your listeners. He manages to do that consistently. With Shapeshifting due out on April 10, 2020 he is sure not to disappoint.

There are thirteen tracks of instrumental ear candy to consume on this latest recording. Joe’s sound is distinct and very familiar to millions of rockers worldwide. I am among the longtime fans that stretch back to the 80s. When I was first turned on to his music, I could not forget it and wanted more. Joe has served us instrumental rock freaks well in his long and successful career.

Some notes from the press release FYI:
Shapeshifting was co-produced by Satriani and Jim Scott (Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers) with longtime associate John Cuniberti onboard handling the mastering duties. Satriani enlisted a wide range of collaborators, both old and new, to help him bring the songs to life. Legendary drummer Kenny Aronoff (John Fogerty), bassist Chris Chaney (Jane’s Addiction) and keyboardist Eric Caudieux were the core musicians on the new album with additional contributions coming from Lisa Coleman (The Revolution) and Christopher Guest.

So, there is no surprise that so many names in the industry are part of this. Just remember he is the guy that taught Steve Vai a few things, who is no slouch on the six-string either.

The production values of Shapeshifting are superb and what you would expect. Every song has a different style and pace to it, making sure every listener gets the variety they need to stay interested from beginning to end. Joe delivers the goods track to track. The album leads off with the title track and a high energy blast of some guitar magic that sets the right tone right from the start.

One of the more eclectic and interesting tracks is “Ali Farka, Dick Dale, an Alien and Me.” It gives thanks to those artists that Joe has admired and you certainly can hear the Dick Dale reference. Surf instrumental is so recognizable and Dale was one of the first innovators of the genre. I am not familiar with Farka’s work but because of that song I will have to do some investigating. If Joe likes him, chances are his work will be of great value to his listeners. As far as the Alien, I think it was that silver dude he was surfing with back in the early years of his career.

The first single “Nineteen Eighty” has some Eddie Van Halen types of riffs running through and it packs a punch through to the end, it is pure energy and excitement. After that explosion of six-string virtuosity, Joe slows things down a bit with “All My Friends Are Here.” It’s not slow but in terms of the way he plays, it is a few notches down from the previous track. It has some great hooks that are hard to ignore. It sounds like the kind of track you may hear sound bites of accompanying a sporting video, albeit in a sport that has plenty of movement.

All that energy and creativeness Joe has in his soul never subsides during this instrumental treasure trove of masterful six-string displays. This is vintage Satriani doing what he does best, just flat out jamming and bending those strings with a fluidness and command that few players can muster. He is and has been one of the premier rock guitarists for a long time and this recording takes its place alongside one of the great releases such as Surfing With The Alien for consistency of quality. I must reiterate, with the level of difficulty involved in putting out yet another all-instrumental album, this sets the bar extremely high for an artist like Joe. He is up for the challenge and plays like a man that is recording his swan song.

Diversity is the key to success. Tracks like the beautiful “Falling Stars” step away from the hard-charging rockers to show that he can do tasteful slower paced tracks with some funky licks interspersed between the rhythm section action. “Waiting” is even more expressive and a nice ballad that relates to the title with its slow start and pensive build-up that intimates some impatience but in a very nice way. It is one of the shorter jaunts clocking in at 2:37. Now if that wasn’t enough of a change, he kicks into high gear with some reggae chops on “Here The Blue River.” He also mixes in the rockin’ side of his playing to the blend with the reggae back beat which continues as the foundation. The multi-layered tracking is amazing with some great effects, making the track the most varied sounding on the entire album.

And just when you thought you heard just about every style imaginable he closes out with “Yesterday’s Yesterday,” a country-fried journey that rings true with the jangling strings and the old western atmosphere it hints at. In many ways, if you played this for long time fans, they may be hard-pressed to peg Joe as the artist.

In the end, the curtain closes and Joe Satriani wins you over again with the superior quality and all the incredible guitar playing on display on this fine album. His ongoing maturity is evident with each subsequent release and he surely is the ultimate Shapeshifting guitar man.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
February 8, 2020



Founder of:


Review Provided By MuzikMan.net

Tracks:
01. Shapeshifting
02. Big Distortion
03. All For Love
04. Ali Farka, Dick Dale, an Alien and Me
05. Teardrops
06. Perfect Dust
07. Nineteen Eighty
08. All My Friends Are Here
09. Spirits, Ghosts and Outlaws
10. Falling Stars
11. Waiting
12. Here The Blue River
13. Yesterday’s Yesterday




3/22/2017

Instrumental Rock Review: Bradford-You're Doing It Wrong

Release Date: July 1, 2016
Label: CD Baby

Bradford (Bradford Watson) released his second album titled You’re Doing It Wrong last summer. After listening I wish I had heard it when it came out! It’s never too late for great music, especially guitar based rock!

Brad is an Aerospace professional that got tired of the daily pressures of corporate America and decided to build his own studio. He is now a full-fledged indie musician, the total opposite of his day job. Now he has a great release valve at the end of each workday to go home to. I totally get that situation believe me.

Brad wanted to make an album that sang without the singing. That is the most wonderful thing about instrumental music, it does just that if it is good enough. I am here to tell you that this music passed my tests. I am picky and very particular when it comes to my music and there is high bar set prior to any listening experience.

If you like to rock, then you have some favorite guitar heroes, right? Let me put it like this, if you like Vai or Satriani you will love this Bradford album. As I was cruising along in music heaven, track six kicked in. ‘Flux” is a beast! The way it begins and builds to some of the heaviest Metallica (and ironically he looks like James Hetfield!) like riffs and proceeds to blow you away with nothing but volume and muscle. I loved it, period. Then like flipping a switch, the scenery travels miles away from the head banging fun. Suddenly the short outing of “Mom’s Place” comes on with its twangy notes. Short and sweet, the acoustic and electric guitar paints a different kind of picture that makes you feel like another person stepped in to take over the strings. Then the juggernaut starts all over again, kicking it into another six-string dimension with “Run Away.” 

From that point it never stops, there is no rest for the wicked. The music continues to roll along with unrelenting straight ahead rock albeit some different flavors and angles to keep it interesting.

You’re Doing It Wrong was two years in the making. Now keep in mind full time musicians take that long to create an album, this man did it while working a full-time job. This is a strong musical statement and Brad should be encouraged to carry on and explore his many talents.

He did it all himself which is a wonder but very possible with today’s technologies. The caveat here is you better know what you’re doing and have the chops to back it up. I can attest to the fact what a difficult process it is making an album, especially on your own, as I served as an Associate Producer for an artist that did something similar. Bradford proves that he is major league guitar player.

I don’t know who is doing it wrong here, certainly not Bradford! This is a killer instrumental rock album and I highly recommend checking out the guitar that has its own distinctive voice ala any vocals to help it along. This ride is owned and operated by Brad Wilson and one destination you will feel compelled to arrive at more than once, trust me.

4.5/5 Stars

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
March 22, 2017
Founder of:

Review Provided By Write A Music Review

Tracks:
01. You're Doing It Wrong
02. Suddenly
03. Pushed
04. One Step
05. The Longer Road
06. In Flux
07. Mom's Place
08. Run Away
09. State of Mind
10. Another Door
11. The Precipice
12. Crossing Over
 

8/22/2015

Instrumental Rock Review: Neal Schon-Vortex

Genre: Instrumental Rock
Release Date: June 23, 2015
Label: Music Theories

Neal Schon’s music career speaks for itself.  He was a member of Santana, fronted by the famous Carlos Santana, while still in his teens and went on to be a part of hard rock groups Bad English and Hardline, before finding mega success and fame with Journey during the 1980s.  Despite all of that, he still has time to work on solo projects and his latest solo release is a testament to his skill as a musician.

Vortex is a two-disc instrumental album featuring eighteen songs.  Featuring Jan Hammer (keyboards), Steve Smith (drums), and Igor Len (keyboards, piano). Vortex is a stunning, and passionate ride influenced by a variety of sounds such as rock, pop, jazz, and world music.  

Starting off relatively strong, “Miles Beyond” is an all-around rocking song.  It has great atmospheric opening with the drums providing a sweltering tribal sound.  There is a sweet change in the sound about halfway through the song when things get noticeably heavier.  I like the song, and the guitar sounds amazing, but it could have been a tad shorter.  Following it up is “Awakening,” which is a very intriguing song with its mellow opening.  It is dazzling and wondrous rock song with soft, mystical quality running through it.

“Cuban Fly Zone” is the type of song where the electric energy is practically contagious, and the guitar work is flawless, which is the real staple of this release.  The sizzling “El Matador” sets itself apart with its Spanish flair, making it one of the more memorable and distinctive songs on the double album.  The piano driven “Eternal Love” is a complete change of pace, focusing on being subtle and emotional for a hauntingly beautiful result.

The next few songs take a more laidback approach to their sound.  “In a Cloud” is a light, upbeat track that is dreamlike in quality and the music of “Irish Cream” is as smooth as its name says. “Lady M (Our Love Remains)” is lovely, serene tune dedicated to his wife.  Airliner NS910” is a great rocking tune that is lively, with a funky jam quality to it.  The guitar completely tears things up.

“Tortured Souls” begin the second album and is a low-key tune that I find to be very relaxing. This could easily be the soundtrack to a picturesque dream. My slight criticism of it is that, with its run-time clocking in at over ten minutes, I think the song does go on for a bit too long.  “Schon & Hammer Now” is a stellar rock song.  The guitar sizzles and delights.  The changes in the music happen at the right time to keep the song engaging and prevents the song from becoming dull.  

“NS Vortex” starts with a spacey opening, before a more manic rock sound takes over.  For some reason, I am reminded of a light show when listening to this.  The drums really heats things up near the end and steal the show. “Unspoken Faith” is short and serene. “Twilight – Spellbound” is another song with all the right touches.  The tonal shifts keeps the song exciting and unpredictable, and the guitar really cuts loose during the second part of the song.  

“Mom” is a short and pleasant acoustic song. “Talk to Me” is a very eclectic song with a variety of sounds but it manages to work. There are some nice twists and turns in the music and things really step up in the last few minutes for an intense and breathtaking piece of work.  The somber “White Light” is a fitting and beautiful ending.

Neal Schon’s Vortex is nothing short of excellent and an instrumental tour de force.  The album is showing a master working at the top of his game.  Hardly a wrong move taken, save for a song or two that could have been shortened, Vortex is sure to please his fans.  There should be a place for this album in every rock fans collection.    

4.5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: El Matador, Irish Cream, Airliner NS910, Schon & Hammer Now, Twilight – Spellbound, Talk to Me

Tracks-Disc One:
 

1. Miles Beyond
2. Awakening
3. Cuban Fly Zone
4. El Matador
5. Eternal Love
6. In a Cloud
7. Irish Cream
8. Lady M (Our Love Remains)
9. Airliner NS910 

 
Disc 2
 

1. Tortured Souls
2. Schon & Hammer Now
3. NS Vortex
4. Unspoken Faith
5. Twilight - Spellbound
6. Triumph of Love
7. Mom
8. Talk To Me
9. White Light

 
Brian McKinnon - Write A Music Review Sr. Staff
August 22, 2015
Review Provided By Write A Music Review





Ads Inside Post