Released: 2008, Self-released
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
As it has always been, ”guitar heroes” come and go. Some of them become legends (Yngwie Malmsteen, Jimi Hendrix, Joe Satriani, Jason Becker, Sammy Hagar, etc.) – and some others fall into oblivion within a time. I remember especially in the 80s, which seemed to be some sort of a golden period for many of these so-called “guitar heroes” - making their own solo albums and first and foremost, showing a bit of their skills through these particular albums in question. Most of us still remember albums like SPEED METAL SYMPHONY (by Marty Friedman and Jason Becker), or NOT OF THIS EARTH (by Joe Satriani), or MARCHING OUT (by Yngwie Malmsteen) that introduced some of these guitar heroes´ techniques and skills as phenomenons of the hard rock/heavy metal genre.
What has counted to me personally in guitar playing, are different emotions and feelings that one can deliver and incorporate through his/her stuff, and not just showing how technical one's playing can reach in terms of technical skills and plain guitar mastery only. You can be like a fuckin´ lion on the top of the hill, roaring your guts out, but if you do it without a real feel and emotion, it undoubtedly doesn´t make you convincing enough, does it?
Raimund Burke is a 39-year-old musician from Hamburg, Germany, who started playing guitar in 1984 because his parents couldn´t stand his noisy drum playing in the house at that time. He has also studied guitar playing at Hochschule fuer Musik und darstellende Kunst in Hamburg in 1990 and took part in several different line-ups. In 2005 he recorded his first solo album, titled GET IT, and due to some overwhelming reviews he received of his work on that album, motivated him to continue on his chosen path.
Raimund´s latest work carries the title, INTO MY ARENA, which showcases very well what this talented guitarist is all about: Full of creativity and understanding what it takes to make a pretty impressive sounding solo album all by himself (he plays everything on the album himself; keyboards, drums, bass and both acoustic and electric guitars – only letting Michael Keuter sing in two songs on this release). Raimund may not be one of the most technical wizards around these days, but he has truly got an ear for some relaxed and effortlessly flowing guitar playing that forces your ears to follow and enjoy the rewarding outcome of the album. A variety of different playing styles and techniques is one of Raimund´s strongest assets on INTO MY ARENA, not to mention how he also cleverly adds different music styles into his songs: from classical music to hard rock to heavy metal to progressive rock and metal. He seems to be quite a master at this, and his compositional abilities become very evident the deeper one dives into his song structure.
Raimund´s playing is overall very passionate, full of ever-blooming creativity, he is intense and able to switch from a tight shredding style to more mellow and sensitive sections, allowing himself enough space to keep the songs breathing all the time as they progress. The title track, "Into My Arena", is over 9-minutes long, an epic musical journey (and my personal fave track off the album, too) that actually includes all these little ingredients of what his music is made of. His sense for some striking solos, all the way virtuoso playing style, the way how he brings up and shows different emotions within his music and brings them to life on through the songs, makes you to raise two thumbs up for him for all his strong achievements on this record.
Raimund´s second album shouldn´t be ignored by anyone who overall loves and can appreciate creativity and talent in making an album like this all alone, and even succeeding in it very well. So, give it a try. Even Jeff Kollman from the Glenn Hughes Band did, and said about the record: "Raimund Burke is a complete guitarist and it shows on his new release INTO MY ARENA. Great Playing!!".