Released: 2004, Lion Music
I dislike shred/guitar hero albums immensely. Why? Because 99% of them have nothing to do with attempting to create good, quality music but just to show off so that hopefully the guitar player in question can get a few guitar clinic gigs. Not that there can’t be good shred albums, but just showing off won’t get you anywhere in a world where Vai, Satriani, Malmsteen, Macalpine, and Angelo have already released some of their best material, so you better come up with something more interesting than just shredding your ass off.
Honestly though, I do think Joop Wolters has at least attempted to create an album of good music because there isn’t an overabundance of noodling and shred happy soloing. Although, I would be lying if I said this isn’t a boring album. In SPEED, TRAFFIC, AND GUITAR ACCIDENTS Joop Wolters has made an album that jumps from slightly progressive-tinged heavy metal to jazz fusion. The music being generally based around guitar solos but there is some room left for other instruments.
The album begins with the, at least partially, Dream Theater inspired “Interludallovedintersection”. The song is built upon a choppy rhythm with strong keyboard and bass that interplay with the guitar before the song takes a big detour in the middle for an acoustic jam session. In “Hi-Jacked” one follows the path of a slightly heavier riff that uses more choppy rhythm work underneath it. This song in particular is built around the rhythm and not Joop’s solos, which is an interesting move for an album like this but musically it can’t hold its own and falls rather flat, as does the rest of the album.
Later on in the album, the focus changes from the slightly heavier side of things to a lot of softer sections and jazzy areas. Many of the jazz sections feel forced as if Joop sat down and made a conscious effort to create these sections rather than letting the music flow. Although, I’ll freely admit that I’m completely lost on this side of things as this is not my style at all and I just find it to be one big snoozefest.
The songs on this album feel soulless; like Joop is just going through the motions. There’s no feel or innovation or even a sense of character. With many of the jumps between metal and jazz one gets the feeling that maybe Joop doesn’t know what he really wants to pursue either. SPEED, TRAFFIC AND GUITAR ACCIDENTS may cater to other listeners… but not to me, whatsoever. It’s just plain boring.