Ravings of guitar-man: A consumer’s guide

By: Brian Paras
November 07, 2017
31

It has been a month long since the last review, and we’re back harder and stronger. 2017 had seen the rise and fall of artists and musical styles; their innovation and deterioration. This review will include my picks (the albums you should listen to) and my not picks (the albums you should not listen to) in 2017 releases.   

GOOD NATURE BY TURNOVER 5/5

Indie has gone a long way, from being a movement to becoming a genre in itself. Turnover, a band that is garnering more, and more popularity because of their laid back, and easy-going sound. Has taken ears by storm, inclusive of mine, as a guy who grew up listening to American Football and the like, Good Nature definitely cures my insatiable thirst for chill indie and Midwest emo vibes, the album makes you think of how life has been, and at the same time reminding us to relax and smell the flowers.

In a technical standpoint, the transition of songs in the album are very fluid, it’s like listening to a lullaby, and bedtime story. The overall atmosphere Good Nature creates is just tremendous, its capability to make you lay down while listening to it in the cold October breeze, and just unwinding is just delightful.

WHEELHOUSE BY GREG HOWE 4/5

As an estranged guitar geek, this album, in my opinion, speaks volumes on how far instrumental jazz-rock fusion has come and survived in the following decades, from the likes of Frank Gambale’s A Present to the Future to Guthrie Govan’s Erotic Cakes. Greg How has withstood the test of time with his most recent release, Wheelhouse, speaking without any hint of personal bias; this release has been one of my favorite instrumental albums in recent time.

The album includes some standard stuff you’ll hear from a Greg Howe album with modern production. I consider this album a gem, not solely based on Greg Howe’s virtuosity, and unique improvisation and sound, but the album’s ability to keep the listener on the flow of the album; in which many instrumental guitar albums lack. But to be fair, guitar instrumentals are not for everyone, especially if you’re used to voice and lyrics. Bottom line is, if you’re a fan of jazz-rock fusion, I would absolutely recommend you listen to this album.

ESCAPADE BY PANDELIC       4/5

Math rock instrumentals are absolutely splendid to the ears; the sound of roaring guitars as it creates atmospheric tones that can enhance moods and feelings is one of the best kinds of music out there. Escapade, a release by Pandelic does just that, much like bands such as Explosions in the Sky, We Lost the Sea, If These Trees could talk and We are Hiroshima.

Pandelic’s riffs facilitates on building atmosphere, tension, with the timbre of their guitars. A characteristic which sets apart progressive instrumental rock to other forms of music; this album builds tension perfectly, with flair and vigor. As an avid fan of the genre, Escapade sounds like what it meant to sound like. The music captures atmospheric photographs of sadness and the deep introspective aspects of the human mind. 

POSTCARDS BY MEADOWLARK       3.5/5

In an era where techno music is one of the most accessible genres to write and produce also with the genres inherent marketability; Meadowlark’s 2017 release “Postcards”, one of the most recent releases I first heard this year, in addition to not being an avid fan of techno/EDM, it is a little hard for me to actually review albums with genres I do not like.

The opening track of this album “Headlights” gave me a good clue on how the album would sound like because I use to listen to melodic dubstep or chill-step with female vocals, this song is pretty much the only one I could distinctively remember from the album. In all honesty, this release is pretty generic from what I’ve heard from the genre, it doesn’t necessarily stand out. But it is still a decent release compared to other albums from this genre.

CHOOSE DEATH BY BLACK MAGIC SIX    2/5

Where do I begin? This album is pretty hard to listen to and appreciate. Maybe because I am not a fan of whatever genre or kind of music they’re playing in here; I just think the entire album sounds completely appalling and dreadful. Let’s carefully dissect this release; in the first song “Dance with Me Satan”, to be honest, is one of the most horrible album openers I have ever heard, I don’t how they thought about fast based tempos on a cowbell could be a good intro to an ALBUM.

And the vocalist, it can be argued that every vocalist has his/her own style of singing or whatever you call it; this vocalist, however, merges Motorhead’s Lemmy Kilmister’s voice husk and rasp with the slang of the Scorpion’s Klaus Meine, to create one of the most irritating sounds made by a human person. This album however still has a silver lining, the guitar playing is decent, but it doesn’t actually make it the album listenable in one sitting even though it is only less than 40 minutes long.

(First published on The LANCE's October Issue)

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