Let's take a minute to introduce you to one of the more interesting guitar players of the moment. German-born Adrian Weiss has been a member of the extreme progressive metal band Forces At Work since 2000, and he played in the progressive rock band Thought Sphere from 1996 to 2002, recording four full length albums. Besides being a member of the bands mentioned above, Adrian has been playing as a full member of Gloryful; a power metal band, since may this year. Meanwhile he found the time to record his first solo album Big Time, a very solid album filled with high quality instrumental guitar orientated music. Big Time has been a regular visitor of my CD player and PC. So when Adrian was about to release his next solo album Easy Game, it was clear to me, good music should be known to many people. Therefore a review should help to gain attention from a larger audience. Having faith in Mr. Weiss, I never doubted having to write a review in a kind of negative atmosphere.
When it comes to instrumental guitar music, Adrian perfectly fits in the picture of guitar players I highly regard, like Marco Sfogli, Daniele Liverani, Guthrie Govan and Tony MacAlpine. All incredibly gifted musicians and composers. Eager to learn new techniques, Adrian shows an impressive slapping technique on his guitar, featured on the opening track Awkward Silence, continuing the song nice and melodic, though powerful and intense. Demian Heuke plays a perfectly suiting guest guitar solo. A perfect blend of heavy riffing, fusion influenced soloing, and fluent melodies can be enjoyed during Instant Relief, Immediate Measures or The Offering. On the other hand, the nice and bluesy ballad type composition Aim To Please, shows a combination of melancholic lines and strong technical skills at the same time. Demian highlights with a solo again. The Last Days could be marked as a sort of ballad too, although this time, an appealing and heavy rock influenced power ballad. Travelling in a different direction is Hacienda, a Quentin Tarantino influenced composition, that has Calexico and Americana reminding chops and a stunning guest performance by guitarist Christian Muenzner, a guitar player whose solo album you might also want to check out. The slapping sounds on the guitar return in the Middle East-orientated Camel's Dance, followed by a relatively fast and impressive solo; the composition grows to east meets heavy. Second Sunrise is a more forward song, filled with wah wah guitar sounds, reminding a bit of the pre-blues period of Gary Hoey. Gut's Thorsten Prćst and Jens Krüger play guest solos on this song. The album's title track, Easy Game, is a happy song-type of composition. This jazzy tune brings a smile on your face; the melodies are fluent and played from the heart, resulting in a very positive song. A darker and somewhat slower composition is Night Owl. Fusion influences pass by as well as doomy melodies, and a cool fretless bass solo aces this one. The final composition, Offbeat Frankenstine, is an adaptation of a Korsakow song, which has been modified by Adrian, resulting in a cool jam with a number of guitarists Adrian has played or still plays with in the bands I mentioned in the intro.
After being impressed by Adrian Weiss's previous album Big Time, I was anxious whether a second album could live up to that one. Well...it does! The songs are great and the technical skills are stunning. The range of diversity makes Easy Game a very interesting album, not only for guitar addicts, but for music lovers in general. The only advice I can give you, is to check out Adrian's site for the album or better, check the package of both CD's in one, you'll save money and end up with two impressive guitar driven albums.
****+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Esther Ladiges)
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