In his new project under the name Josh & Co. Ltd, Bryan Josh has teamed up with great musicians such as Troy Donockley (Nightwish), Anna Phoebe, Alex Cromarty (Mostly Autumn), his wife Olivia Sparnenn-Josh (Breathing Space, Mostly Autumn) and Marc Atkinson (Riversea, Nine Stones Close, Mandalaband). The musicianship on this album is fantastic. Troy Donockley and Anna Phoebe are superb and of course Bryan plays a mean guitar himself. But, and yes a big but, this album should tell a story and fails totally. The story is about a beautiful vampire in Transylvania and her evil father (The Count). The Count (Bryan) speaks, speaks again, lectures, and commands. And in the middle of the song Carnival Of The Rotting Sun he tells everyone to dance, which ruins this absolutely great track with fantastic flute and pipes playing of Donockley. Every time you think, “Wow, this is great”, Bryan needs to do a weird voice or a bad song like Ulak The Gripper that really takes you out of the beautiful moments before. The Back Lane, the first song, is a cheerful little bluesy tune. Powerful drums and brilliant guitar work (bit oriental like Yossi Sassi) opens In For The Bite with vocals by Olivia Sparnenn. This is good.
Far Away starts with spoken words and then a beautiful song starts. But no, more spoken words by both Josh and Sparnenn before rock returns and Bryan plays a huge solo. Forget The Castle Of 1000 Dead, an absolute waste of time with screams, 'sound effects', and more nasty stuff. Also forget the spoken intro and the children choir of Carnival Of The Rotting Sun, but keep listening because a beautiful folky tune follows. Donockley is magnificent in this Lord Of The Dance track till it is stopped by the 'Count' and tells everyone to dance as I said before. It continues and more heavy, but the spell is broken. The Wolves Of Kolkon has horrible vocals. But then follows The Dead Sun, a Pink Floyd kind of song in which Bryan sings great, Anna Phoebe excels on violin, and Bryan plays some amazing guitar parts. The highlight of the album. Really fantastic!
A few tracks follow with more odd voices and then the last real track Beyond The Wall rocks for seven minutes. OK, Bryan talks again, but the violin of Anna Phoebe and Bryans guitar let you know how great this album could have been without the spoken parts. Transylvania (Part 1 - The Count Demands It) ends with 34 seconds The Count Commands. Enough! Shut up!
Musically this album has some really wonderful tracks. The musicians are great. It sounds absolutely fantastic, but please Bryan, for the next parts (as this was part 1) don't 'act' like a kind of Saruman on acid. Just give us the great music you're capable of.
*** Arne van Os van den Abeelen (edited by Astrid de Ronde)
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