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Reasons For Decade
Released: 2001, Lion Music
Wrtiting for Metal-Rules.com is interesting in so many ways. Not only do I get to review awesome CDs by some of the metal worlds best bands and interview some of my favourite metal musicians I also get to hear many different styles and variations of metal that I would possibly never get the opportunity to hear normally. One of the genres that I have discovered is very much alive in metal is the guitar instrumental arena. There are hundreds of guitar players out there releasing instrumental Cds every year and many often go unnoticed by the mainstream metal fan (if there is such a thing as a mainstream metal fan). I have to admit that I am not a huge fan of the instrumental guitar release. I guess that because for me vocals are one of the most important parts of metal but every now and then an instrumental disc does come along that does catch my attention. REASONS FOR A DECADE by Project Alcazar is one such disc. I popped it on and actually enjoyed it a great deal. Project Alcazar is the brainchild of guitarist Chris Steberl. Stebel began playing guitar at age 8 and studied guitar up to the age of 15. At the age of 24, after playing in various bands Steberl formed the instrumental band Alcazar. This band gained some notoriety and opened for acts such as Dream Theater, Tony Macalpine, Greg Howe and Foghat. On this release, Project: Alcazar mixes new material with their own versions of choice cuts from classical composers such as Mozart and Vivaldi. Steberl plays all guitars, bass and keyboards on this disc and is joined by John Homan (Magnitude 9)on drums and percussion.
"Nightmare on Bald Mountain" opens the disc in fine fashion and was the first song to draw me into the guitar mastery that is Chris Steberl. This song has an evil sounding atmosphere that full of guitar and keyboard duels. Very interesting track in that I hardly miss the vocals. Therein lies Steberl’s strength. He is not just a one dimensional shredder but is also a great songwriter. Up next is my favourite song on the disc, "TranceMission". Great double bass pounding song that leads me to wonder what Steberl would be like if he had a proper band? I say the out put would be impressive to say the least. "Vivaldi’s Summer Concerto (3rd Mov)" showcases Steberl’s love of classical music and together he and Homan give a grand showing of metalized classical art. "Sahara Skies" has a definite 70s progressive feel to it and therefore is different than anything else on the CD. Again the classical work of Mozart is featured on "Mozart’s 25th Symphony in Gm (Amadeus)". Slightly different and in my opinion not quite as good as the Vivaldi piece Steberl nonetheless shows that he is a force to be reckoned with in the guitar world.
Many instrumental release fail for the pure fact that they don’t focus enough on songs but instead try to dazzle the listener with the players technical mastery of their instruments. That is all well and good but it can only get you so far. Writing good songs is a much a part of being a good musician as being technically proficient on your instrument. If you want to hear some good songs and songwriting from a great guitar player then definitely check out Project: Alcazar.
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