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4.5/10 Mladen
 

SCHON, NEAL - Vortex - CD - Mascot Label Group - 2015

Many years ago our ex-editor reviewed a Joe Satriani CD and concluded that guitar solos alone, where the rest of the band sounds as a generic backup, are boring. A few years later, I made a similar point about an Annihilator album. Simply put, albums where the guitar - or any other instrument - does everything, and the other instruments sound like a simple program, are boring! Even the best guitar solo can be made better if the bass, keyboard, or drum player participate and give it a background boost.

Enter Neal Schon - the man famous for playing in Journey - and Vortex, his new double album. The guitar is superb. Solos, compositions, moods, 18 songs in total, all tasteful, all elaborated and carefully laid into place. The man knows what he is doing.

The drummer, however, doesn't. And no, it's not a generic simplistic drummer. We wish it was. Yes, we actually said that. We wish this was a programmed, generic machine instead, but programmed by a metal guy. This one, although not a machine, is a jazz drummer of the pretentious kind - sort of "just play and sound like you know what you're doing, make it sound fancy and expensive, and sometimes try to pay attention to the song". Maybe it's not that bad and we are too harsh, but maybe it actually is. It all sounds the same. No dynamics, no quiet parts. The guy constantly has to show off with how many cymbals he can hit, even though the composition isn't asking for it. Also, it sounds like he's using every possible excuse not to play two bass drums, a galloping rhythm or just a simple straightforward beat sometimes. It's all the same. Boring jazz, and this is not even a jazz album! Man, I don't know who you are, and I'm not going to look it up [Ed note: it's Steve Smith, also a Journey alumnus], but, please, listen to some power metal before you ruin another record with this crap. You see what you did? You made us write about the drums ten times more than about the guitars, in a review of a famous guitarist's solo album. And we didn't even get to mention the keyboards or the bass. That's just wrong. With better drums Vortex would be a solid 8 or 9, but, as it is, it's a... (4.5/10)

 

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ISSUE 78
ALBUM REVIEWS

(A-B)  (B-D)  (D-G)  (G-K)  (K-M)  (M-P)  (P-S)  (S-ST)  (S-W)  (W-Z)

PROSPEKT
The Colourless

PYRAMIDS ON MAR...
Echo Cosmic

REGARDE LES HOM...
Exile

ROCK CANDY FUNK...
Groove Is King

SCARDUST
Shadow

SCHNELLERTOLLER...
X

SCHON, NEAL
Vortex

SECTION 37
Legion

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