Released: 2014, Self-released
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
Australian guitarist James Norbert Ivanyi rounds up an impressive, if far-flung array of guests for his self-released first solo outing. The all-instrumental, six-track album features guest guitar work from Aborted’s Danny Tunker, Obscura’s Christian Muenzner and All Shall Perish/Devil You Know’s Francesco Artusato, along with the haunting violin strains from Roxana Mallous Niesemann on the ethereal opener “Olivia.”
Instead of blasting away with a hail of guitar histrionics out of the gate, Ivanyi wisrly starts things soft and slow, with the somber plucking of an acoustic guitar and the aforementioned violin accompaniment on “Olivia.” Amid the shred and bombast elsewhere it would either seem out of place or contrived. Here, it begins a natural slow build that leads into “Reawakened,” where things begin to take a decidedly more metallic turn.
Indeed, with its double-bass driven drumming from David Horgan, big riffs and drawn out, though somewhat understated leadwork, “Reawakened” is a pretty typical instrumental metal fare. “Apperception Prism,” however, introduced some nifty, laid-back Southern twang at the outset with its smattering of steel guitar, but that gets overpowered by super-charged drum/guitar salvos midway through that promise more punishing moments ahead.
The guest guitar contributions begin with Muenzner on “Proprium | Assent,” again a fairly standard metal instrumental, but with more pyrotechnics than on “Reawakened” as Ivanyi and Muenzner harmonize in some parts and duel in others. A short, blast-beaty section offers some extra oomph. “Ubuntu” also features keyboardist Beau Golden, but his lilting intro soon gives way to the sort of tech-death brutality one might expect when Aborted's Tunker joins in. The longest and most vicious of Aphasia's six tracks, “Ubuntu” is awash in grinding riffs, twisty and turny tempos and, of course, loads of soaring and diving leads – and all in all, pretty awesome.
Artusato, who issued a solo instrumental album of his own a year or so ago, helps close things out on the speed metally “Resolute Enmity,” which has the most guitar-tandem feel here in its tradeoffs and sawing rhythms. It's a densely packed six minutes with plenty of flash, fire and finesse, but also a keen sense of teamwork.
For a relative unknown, Ivanyi has put together a rather fantastic first effort that should certainly help build his reputation the more it gets around. For from a self-aggrandizing wank-fest, Aphasia is a meaty, well thought out and executed work that recalls ex-Nevermore guitarist Jeff Loomis' recent solo work – which is certainly not a bad thing.