Xander Demos – Guitarcadia

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Xander Demos – Guitarcadia

Primary: http://www.xanderdemos.com

Sometimes instrumental albums, particularly ones built around guitar soloing, can lose track of things like melody and groove. This one, for the most part, avoids that. It manages to flow and groove pretty well throughout, making it a strong, but not perfect, release.

The opener “Right Angles” sounds a lot like Joe Satriani or Steve Vai to me. It’s got some great guitar soloing and a nice groove. Somehow Demos almost brings a pop music sensibility to “Nothing Major.” It seems a bit less furious. Next comes “Under a Darkened Sky.” I really needed a break from the endless guitar soloing. This progressive metal song provides that. The vocals are also some great variety. There’s a melodic section later with some keyboards and soaring guitar that’s also exceptional. On “White Knuckle Driving” Demos seems to be trying to channel Yngwie Malmsteen. He does a reasonably decent job. There is only one Yngwie, though. We’re back into Satriani territory with the stomper that serves as the title track. Its high energy, but also melodic. It has some great guitar work, but you can say that about the whole album. Noisy and furious, Demos seems to be trying to channel Rush, Metallica and Yngwie all at once on “Woodshed Sonata.” There is a keyboard solo later that is great. Who on Earth would ever think of doing a heavy metal cover of “Boys of Summer?” Xander Demos, that’s who. I like this one a lot for the surprise of it. The vocals on the verses leave a little to be desired, though. In some ways I think I like the guitar soloing on “Chase the Sun” better than the rest of the disc. It just seems to convey more melody and conviction here. It is a highlight of the CD for sure. I can hear more of that Joe Satriani vibe on “Metagalactic.” It’s a great piece that continues the same basic ideas, but does it all in a new vein.The closing song is a cover “Lady in Red.”

This time the cover is done without vocals, but rather with guitar doing the vocal part. I like this a lot. It’s got a bit of a stripped back, almost electronic feeling to it and a great groove.

I have to say that I’m not usually a big fan of guitar dominated music like this. Somehow this one works pretty well.

SOUNDCLOUD: https://soundcloud.com/xanderdemos

- Mary Angela Tobin 

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