7for4 was a German trio that recently became a quartet. They play an instrumental form of progressive rock containing quite a number of fusion elements with a metal edge on top. The leader of the trio is guitarist Wolfgang Zenk, who apart from being a manager and teacher for the Munich Guitar Institute, became also known as a guitarist for Sieges Even. Assisted by bass player Markus Grützner and drummer Klaus Engl, Zenk also played the keyboards on Splash, the third album by 7for4. After the album's release, Markus Froschmeier became the band's permanent keyboard player.
The music of Splash is very varied. The opening piece Junk Funk is a great and groovy jazz-rock composition with, I think, a computerized brass section. The combination of a piano and a jazz guitar really sounds fierce, but also amazing: like the Brecker Brothers going heavy metal. If Only, The Scent, Shhhh and Doubt And Ask are laidback and smooth compositions, in which the guitar and the piano meet halfway. These pieces contain great emotional and dramatic guitar solos. The tracks Downhill, Murder She Said and Lesson Learned are more up-tempo, while the guitar sounds more towards the heavy side of prog rock and fusion.
Fortune is an absolute amazing piece that blends rather strange melody lines with an outstanding guitar sound, great solos and a cool piano playing. Weirder and more challenging is Fiesta combining guitar shredding and jazz-rock. Splash has been influenced by the music of Frank Gambale mixed with Panzerballett as well as power metal and even speed metal. I guess Wolfgang Zenk shows us the perfect blend of all the music he prefers. He puts his musical preferences in a big blender which results in the music of 7for4: from smooth and emotional to heavy and technical; he just masters it all.
Splash is an album that will attract guitar fans as well as progressive rock and metal devotees. However, when you like jazz-rock and fusion, you'll probably add this CD to your collection either. Personally I'm delighted that 7for4 mixed a number of styles to a unique style of their own that I happen to like. Let's push the repeat button again!
**** Pedro Bekkers (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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