SynGate Dist. CD KD05 [Klangdesign]
Great guitar growls and sawing chords get the opener 'Pulse' off in a way that leaves no doubt that this is a guitar album backed by synths and electronics not the other way round. Electronics still play a major role though as after the first flourish in comes a melodic sequence and excellently programmed drums. Guitar now works on two levels- power axe man stuff and wonderful melody lines. The mix between these two elements is pure perfection. It's just so much fun, oozing with an enormous feel good factor. Play that tennis racket and imaginary keyboard and just have a damned good jump around the room! 'Miracle' uses a strummed guitar and melodic loop to chug along nicely. A gently plucked lead does its heavenly thing before more power guitar and riffing. This is loud proud anthemic stuff so crank your amp up accordingly! It's not all in ye face though as more tender moments are allowed to shine amongst the powerhouse stuff. The title track starts with a rapid sequence, mutating as it goes. When the guitar initially arrives it soars beautifully and gently into the air then pow! Axe man heroics are the order of the day taking me back to my cherished Scorpions albums from my leather jacket wearing past. Maxxess is a master of dynamics as well as his other many talents however, letting the storm subside from time to time in order to make the manic riffing even more awesome when it returns.
'Crazy Blue Thing' gets straight into a groove with excellent bass and electronics. Blissed out guitar alternates between providing tranquil tones and rhythm, indeed there seems to be so many layers of guitar that it's hard to keep track. It took me to about the half way mark to finally understand the title. There's a sort of blues sound to it all, though somewhat heavier than the blues I'm used to and not at first obvious. Another excellent sequence gets 'Adkenaline' underway. The opening section is rather chilled out in relation to the rest of the album with something of a filmatic feel to it. This isn't to say that it doesn't have its fair amount of oomphful moments however and these become more and more prominent as the track progresses until I'm jumping around the room again. 'Sleepwalk' must be gentle and atmospheric, right? Well, as with the previous track, that is the case during the first half, with some lovely acoustic guitar playing and subtle drumming. Again it does become a little more energetic especially in the rhythm guitar department but compared to the other tracks here it is one you can lay back to and let your feet gently tap the floor. 'Q.E.D.' doesn't completely abandon the gentle approach but intersperses a pleasant chug with more crazed axe man flourishes which get even more manic nearer the end- wonderful! Now where did I throw that tennis racket? 'Avebury Henge' uses infectious rhythm and bass round which the synths surge and fall. A sequence starts up, as does subtle acoustic guitar. More powerful guitar gives bite and again I thought it had something of a film music feel to it - ideal for the euphoric triumphant conclusion to a blockbuster movie.
The final 'bonus' track is a live version of 'Slow Motion'. Delicate guitar licks drift above soft electronics and appropriately mellow syncopation. It's lovely track and by far the most mellow here. Finally, an apology to Blue22. I know I promised I would let you review this one but I loved it too much to let the promo out of my house. Maybe you can review it next month? (DL)