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Ken Synder
July 2003
Released: 2003, STP
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: JP

I am a fan of indie guitar-based instrumental albums. Why? Guitar is the foundationof metal and these young artists take th etime, energy and money to dedicate them selves to the advancement of the very instrument that our entire genre is base don. For that they always will have a soft spot in my heart.

So it is not a shock when I’ll tell you that Ken Synder is another excellent addition to fortunately growing ranks of people who actually want to play guitar and learn more than three chords and few foolish poses for the girls. It really is a shame that beyond labels like Lion, Leviathan, Favoured Nations and Shrapnel, dudes like Synder find it hard to get support. Beyond a rare few guitarists who get any sort of international recognition the end result is do it yourself or not at all. That is the metal way and Synder has truly embraced that ethic. While countless mallcore bands waste hours primping and preening and lining-up for a chance to kiss the ass of major label A&R dudes for that one shot to get flown to NY or L.A. for some lame showcase gig, dudes like Synder buckle down write songs, record and play.

The result is a very cool twelve cut indie CD. The packaging is minimal but adequate. The production is pretty decent but it is hard to really ruin a solo instrumental CD. Synder obviously is very talented and has watched the masters. His keen eye have picked up the main tricks of the trade in terms of presentation. We have the requisite ‘holding my guitar’ photo and the song titles fall into line with expectations. We have ‘Shredder’s Paradise’, Slow Burn’, ‘March of the Ants’ and the long song simply titled ‘Epic’.

Synder showcases his various styles, tones and tempos on this disc with catchy tunes that mostly fall into the four-minute range. Being sucker for speed the fast cuts are my favorite. If I was forced to pick a main influence I’d peg Satriani and maybe hints of Vai. I have to assume it is a drum machine but no drummer or equipment is credited so who knows for sure. Don’t let the term ‘drum machine’ turn you off. The sound is fine. Besides who listen to a solo instrumental album by a guitarist for the drums. If you do, you’re missing the point.

Synder doesn’t miss the point and has a produced a great disc showcase, talent, precision and a little flair that should easily get him a decent shot at the big time. I say ‘decent’ because when you have guys like Corbin King, Gus G. and Dushan Petrossi, out there the competition is incredibly stiff. I’d like to hear him take it to the next level on his next disc. Somebody get this guy a band and a web-site!
Track Listing

1. Opening Tip
2. Ballbuster
3. Throwback
4. Shredder’s Paradise
5. Electric
6. Little Princess
7. Return to Paradise
8. Mars & Venus
9. Slow Burn
10. March of The Ants
11. Epic
12. Closing Credits


Ken Synder-All



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