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Joe SatrianiSuper Colossal
Joe Satriani - Super Colossal Artist:

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Joe Satriani

Super Colossal

Instrumental guitar rock

3.5 Stars
There’s a reason why he’s considered a guitar hero

Super Colossal is one very cool album. Unlike Eric Johnson and Andy Timmons, whose tones come from a place of vintage purity, Joe gives us the antithesis of classic – a wide range of modern guitar tones from song to song and wild sounding effects. Rather than wrapping his songs in traditional blues or power trio rawness, he throws in the influence of hair bands and pop sensibility, adding multiple layers of guitars, effects, and some keyboards. Pretty neat considering the only instrument he didn’t play on the CD was drums!

This adds up to a great sounding record filled with catchy, cool instrumental rock songs that are finely executed with memorable hooks. His style does in fact vary from song to song, from the title track that reeks of Billy Squire’s disturbingly catchy eighties tune “Stroke” to the outrageously cool sounding modern blues groove of “Just Like Lightnin’.” Songs like “Redshift Riders” have up-tempo hard rock flair with outstanding use of tremolo and, really, we could go on and on. Joe has a lot of amazing guitar tones on this record and, most importantly, non-musician types (like our editor in chief’s wife, for example) really like the music, too! Face it… Satch knows how to make you boogie.

-SK

 
Gary NumanJagged
Gary Numan-Jagged Artist:

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Gary Numan

Jagged

Melodic industrial rock

3 Stars
Numan shines with his best release in years.

Jagged is an album that will appeal to fans of electronic beats mixed with acoustic drums, wicked synthesizers, and heavy crunching guitars. It’s almost like an industrial music movie soundtrack, as the pace and mood go through various swings from dark to moody to heavy to reflective.

For listeners who partially embrace industrial rock but find it too heavy and repetitive most of the time, Jagged provides a great balance between the industrial world and more melodic alternative rock.

Gary’s early work shines a strong influence over the production of this CD. Vocals on the song “Slave” sound borrowed from Telekon’s “This Wreckage” and outstanding tracks like “Haunted” and “Fold” have the trademark synth lines following Gary’s vocals. Perhaps the finest balance to date between classic Numan and modern Numan, Jagged also has the best audio production values, too. We wish there was a little bit more variety of style from song to song, though.

-SK

 
Eric MantelThe Unstruck Melody
Eric Mantel-The Unstruck Melody Artist:

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Eric Mantel

The Unstruck Melody

Rock, blues, pop, and instrumental

2.5 Stars
Strong musician too wrapped up in his own greatness
To read the alarming amount of self-promoting material that accompanies this CD, you’d swear that Eric is the greatest thing since sliced bread. The Unstruck Melody hits us then like a loaf of multi-grain, perhaps. It’s a mostly excellent sounding CD with a lot of catchy blues-, jazz-, and classic-rock influenced songs backed by some outstanding guitar work. Kudos to Rusty Hall for outstanding organ playing, and to the rest of the band for providing a great rhythm section.

We recommend ignoring the CD booklet/liner notes for starters and skipping right to playing the CD since you might be falsely mislead into thinking this is an amateur production, when in fact the music is first rate throughout. Filling the CD with quotes alluding to Eric’s greatness was a serious turn-off for us – he should have let the music just speak for itself.

Eric’s playing is excellent throughout, and fans of vintage guitar tones and musical influences ranging from the Grateful Dead to Eric Johnson (with a heavy dose of classic rock and blues) will find something to latch onto in this collection of songs, some instrumental and some featuring Eric on lead vocals.

There’s too much music in this collection, though – at least five of the songs should have been dropped to maintain a more cohesive sound and keep the flow of the album moving along. Slimming down the collection and redoing the album artwork will better enable listeners to take this album for what it is – a great guitar album – rather than come across as something amateurish.

-SK

 
3Wake Pig
3-Wake Pig Artist:

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3

Wake Pig

Progressive rock

3 Stars
Young name stealers with talent and originality

We’re still not ready to forgive them for taking the band name used by Keith Emerson, Robert Berry, and Carl Palmer in 1988, but they do share something in common with the almost-ELP-lineup of yesterday… great musicianship.

With a prog rock influence that perhaps comes more from Tool than Dream Theater, throwing in a touch of Kings X and then ignoring it all in favor of modern EMO bands, and then finally jamming some tunes around a campfire, you start to get an idea about their sound.

It’s not overly catchy melodic rock, and it’s not filled with many memorable hooks. What it is, though, is very good listening rock. The guitar work from Billy Riker and singer Joey Eppard is excellent, and the acoustic playing definitely enters serious shredding territory. There’s nice variety to their sound thanks to some great drumming by Gartdrumm (hmm… is he man or machine?). Keyboards and vocal harmonies round out their sound, and song arrangements are definitely original. If you shy away from commercial rock in favor of something more unique, check this one out or listen to the band on myspace.com.

-SK

     
             
             
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