Adrian Weiss is one of the most interesting guitarists from Germany debuting with Big Time in 2011, followed by the 2014 album; Easy Game (2014, see review). In between, he joined forces with Thought Sphere and Forces At Work and became a full member of the German power metal band Gloryful. Near the end of 2016, the third solo effort from this sympathetic fellow; Criminal Record will hit the shelves.
The thing that makes Adrian stand out is the way his compositions kind a tell a story and are not just plain vehicles for endless/ meaningless soloing. The base of his instrumental trio were tracked by his long-time friends Marcel Willnat on bass and Lars Zehner on drums. Like on his previous releases, Criminal Record features some special guests on several tracks. So we can hear Axxis guitar player Stefan Weber, Jimmy Pitts, known from Eternity's End and the Pitts/ Minnemann Project on keyboards and Warrant's new guitarist Michael Dietz playing solos. Also on offer are a brilliant fretless guitar solo from Fountainhead's Tom Geldschläger and a guitar solo from Orden Ogan's bass player Niels Loeffler, who proves to be an amazing guitar player as well.
Like I wrote, Adrian tells stories through his guitar. Check the album's opener Bird Hair Day and the wah wah drenched sound takes you on a melodic journey, filled with big guitars. A song you will not miss is the funky powerhouse Beguiled (The Fanboy), where his rhythmic guitar is accompanied by solid, but playful drums and a nice soulful bass. A great sound on Three Wishes, where the emotional side takes over, stretched notes and tasteful chords make this a smooth, though intense journey, with the participation of the aforementioned Weber and Pitts as special guests. The Middle Eastern touch on Anticipatory Obedience marks the third song of a trilogy that began on Arian Weiss debut; heavy and atmospheric. I guess when a guitarist sees the title of this song; The Dorian Way, they immediately link the music towards a song with jazz influences. Completely true and this wonderful song belongs to one of my favourites on this album, just because I totally like this kind of playing. The nice slap bass leads us into the following track; Everything´s Gonna Be Alright, a song that both Dietz as well as Loeffler add their distinguished soloing to. Also, I guess this song has the most guitar on the album. One of the most powerful tunes on Criminal Record is Completely Cut Loose, a riff driven song by Jen Majura which was recorded for ENGL Amps, but was re-recorded with Adrian's lead over it. This powerhouse also is the first video for the album that can be found on YouTube. Bassment Laughter is a song initiated by bass player Marcel, who has a pretty nice role in this song, alongside with the aforementioned fretless guitar solo. The album's final track is the title track; Criminal Record. As a true instrumental epic, this close to eight minutes composition holds emotion, power, mood and speed changes. In the end, this is perhaps the most impressive composition on the album.
As before, Adrian Weiss keeps surprising with his fine combination of powerful riffs and harmonic melodies, creating real songs that have the feeling of a vocal driven composition. The overall sound is great, focusing on each individual instrument, generating a powerful, but clear outcome.
****+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Robert James Pashman)
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