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(43:31, ‘Demian Heuke’)
TRACK LIST: 1. 30 Ballons 3:56 2. This Is Now 4:23 3. Jimmy 4:20 4. Alive 2:50 5. Iced Kingdom 5:01 6. Funky Valentine 3:37 7. Treumal 3:24 8. Astronomy 3:47 9. Just Breathing 1:33 10. Diminished Wind 5:08 11. Suffering 3:45 12. Daily Settlement 1:47 LINEUP: Demian Heuke – guitars Larts Zehner – drums MF-C – bass With: Five more guitar players
Prolusion. German guitarist and composer Demian HEUKE is active in a handful of different band constellations today, playing with the band of fellow German guitarist Adrian Weiss among his active ventures, and sports a past in various rock and metal bands based around the Dusseldorf area. "Treumal" is his first solo album, self-released in 2014.
Analysis. One aspect of this album where I'll give this still fairly young musician credit straight away is that he has chosen to go for a band set-up. No synth bass, no programmed drum patterns, but real musicians are used throughout. That is a detail I tend to appreciate, partially because material with programmed and digitized instruments demands an expert hand in their use to not come across as detrimental, partially because my subjective experience is that albums used with musicians in all positions by guitarists making a solo album have a tendency to be more developed with the general end user in mind rather than being aimed towards fellow guitarists and guitar aficionados. And from the get go, this is an album that reveals qualities that should indeed give this production a fairly wide reach. Elegant, flowing guitar solo runs, if not in sound and style then at least in approach and execution closer aligned to what made Joe Satriani such a popular player back in the day, where the technical showmanship rarely becomes the dominant aspect. Well developed drum patterns and bass-lines and clever use of rhythm guitar details secured a firm and compelling foundation for Heuke's solo runs to play upon, both on the more metal light kind of style explored on opening track 30 Balloons as well as throughout this album as a whole. Variety is just about always a feature on productions of this kind, and “Treumal” is no exception in that department. The greater amount of the material does reside within more of a general hard rock and metal-oriented context, but it also dabbles ever so slightly in progressive metal – on second track This Is Now, for instance, and there's also room for material with a quirkier, more sophisticated and exotic style here, where the nicely wandering Astronomy is a good showcase for material fitting this general description. Some funky vibes are applied, unsurprisingly on Funky Valentine, although I wouldn't claim them to be a dominating aspect of this vibrant metal piece per se, and towards the end we're also treated to a dominating funk-oriented bass line on the more gentle and jazz rock-laden Suffering, which, surprisingly for my general taste in music, comes across as something of a high point on this disc.
Conclusion. Demian Heuke comes across as an accomplished musician and one who knows how to pen compelling instrumentals with a fairly broad general appeal as well. Instrumental guitarist solo albums come in many varieties, and this one is among those I'll credit for being open and inclusive in its approach, well made and well produced as well, the latter of which is an obvious bonus feature, and while the compositions aren't within the scope of progressive rock as such, it's still a production that should be found appealing by many also in this environment. Those with a general interest in productions of this kind can note down one more item on their list of albums that merits a check at some point.
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