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(47:24, Adrian Weiss)
TRACK LIST: 1. Bird Hair Day 3:41 2. Beguiled (The Fanboy) 5:32 3. Three Wishes 6:51 4. Anticipatory Obedience 5:11 5. The Dorian Way 3:57 6. Everything's Gonna Be Alright 6:12 7. Completely Cut Loose 3:16 8. Bassment Laughter 4:53 9. Criminal Record 7:51 LINEUP: Lars Zehner - drums Marcel Willnat - bass Adrian Weiss - guitars With: Stephan Weber - guitars Jimmy Pitts - keyboards Michael Dietz - guitars Niels Loeffler - guitars Tom Geldschlager - guitars Jen Majura - guitars
Prolusion. German based composer and guitarist Adrian WEISS have been involved in various band projects since the 1990's, and is a seasoned performer and instrumentalist. He opted to launch a solo career back in 2011, and so far three studio albums have been crafted as a part of that venture, alongside quite a few live performances. "Criminal Record" is the most recent of these solo albums, and was self released at the tail end of 2016.
Analysis. I recall enjoying the two previous solo albums by Weiss, and while a review of this third one has been a long time coming for a number of different reasons - to be filed under the challenges of life and fate I guess - my opinion about Weiss as a solo artists remains pretty much on the same level. He is a strong composer and a quality musician, and many guitarists could learn a trick or two by studying what he does. I suspect Weiss will never be mentioned in the same category as the big, universal guitar heroes such as, for instance, Joe Satriani. Partially because Weiss doesn't have quite those killer songs with a universal in his system, but perhaps more importantly because he is just a tad too late in the game to make such a strong impression as the first generation of modern metal heroes did. When the originals released albums that the record labels back then thought no one would buy. It didn't take long before the labels saw the error of their ways of course, and a lot of guitar albums have seen the light of day since then. And still do, of course, and in that context making a strong impression is undeniably difficult. My impression is that Weiss belongs to that category of guitarists that focus on creating music that will be enjoyable also for those not all that interested in the technical abilities of the performers. You will find shredding, complex maneuvers and challenging instrument details aplenty, at least I suspect this from what I can hear as a non-musician, but movement and melody has the main focus throughout. Furthermore, Weiss has a more than competent backing band that are given lots of room and space for their own instruments, as well as the freedom to contribute to the arrangements and build-up of the songs. This may well be a solo album, but the songs and how they are performed is a result of a proper band rather than a solo artist and his backing band. Which, generally speaking, tends to be rather more interesting to listen to than when the case is the other way around. "Criminal Record" takes us on quite the journey too, from gentler ballad oriented escapades to challenging, quirkier harder excursions and over to crunchier, beefier and more distinctly metal oriented territories. Playful instrument details that nods in the direction of both jazz and funk have their place here, as well as the token nuance here and there that may or may not tip the hat ever so slightly to the good, old blues. Hard rock and metal are the dominating traits though, and with enough development and movement to sustain quite a few fans of progressive rock as well I surmise. All instrumental all the way of course, as this is an album that celebrates the instruments and the instrumentalists.
Conclusion. I could probably say just about the same about the qualities of "Criminal Record" as I could say about Weiss earlier solo albums. Instrumental music is the name of the game here, hard rock and metal the main and dominant styles explored, and taken on in a manner that will give this album an appeal also beyond the spheres of the guitar hero fans. The latter will obviously be a key audience, but those who may want to check out a guitarist solo album made with a regular rather than instrument-oriented listener in mind should take note of this album too, as well as Weiss previous solo albums.
Progmessor: November 25th, 2018
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