For people who listen regularly to Lion Music releases, the name Niels Vejlyt should ring a bell. He's the driving force behind the Danish band Infinity Overture and he also participated on the latest record of Ian Parry's Consortium Project. Vejlyt is a great guitar player, who has released a number of DVDs including guitar lessons. On Sthenic Vejlyt is accompanied by drummer Jakob Vand (Infinity Overture) and bass player Kristoff Gildenlow (ex-Pain Of Salvation). These musicians always add something special to the music rather than computers to provide for the backup sounds. Other musicians that participate are Bernardo Fesch (bass on Die Today and Winter) and Mads Damgaard (piano on Kajsa.)
I was afraid that the opening song Heads Up had something to do with an old Steve Vai song. However, I was pleasantly surprised when I heard a cool, slow opening in which the feeling is more important than showing how many notes you're able to play in a minute. The basic melody of Die Today is more powerful with a fine underlying bass sound. This piece is a combination of emotion, sentiment and the use of different guitar techniques. The heavy riffs continue on Rain which is slightly influenced by Yngwie Malmsteen concerning the guitar solos. The great powerful drumming, the roaring bass and some fine tempo changes make this an interesting piece. Samurai starts with multi-layered guitars in a heavy down-tuned melody with double bass drums. This Japanese warrior's heading in the direction of Marty Friedman's music. Meteors is a lighter song with an opening in the best tradition of Dream Theater. Later on it changes into the heavy shredding of Malmsteen and returns again to the main theme; wow, what a great combination! My Little Rascal has some speedy guitars over an impressive drum pattern and cool bass playing, but unfortunately the end is kind of strange. Kajsa is the only song to relax with: just a piano and an electric guitar. A fretless bass tells me that it's Winter; the sound of the acoustic guitar falls upon me like the first snowflakes in December, but then mother nature provides for cold and icy winds and let the music fade away...
The Danish guitar hero Niels Vejlyt has made a promising instrumental debut album. The majority of the songs contain up-tempo melodies and impressive guitar techniques. The opening song and the last two compositions made the most impression on me just because they're slightly different from the rest. Sthenic is just a stunning album for guitar freaks.
***+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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