Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Best Guitar Cds of the Week - Week of 09/20/2011

Opeth - Heritage
   My oh my,aren't modern metal fans a fickle lot. Here we have Opeth,a band in a genre that is in part,based on disregarding the rules and finding your own path. The catch? You're only supposed to disregard the rules in a very particular way! This is an album that will cause strong reactions from listeners. If you come to Heritage with expectations of what Opeth is supposed to sound like,you may come away disappointed. Singer/guitarist Mikael Akerfeldt and the rest of his Swedish prog/metal lads lean even heavier on the progressive elements than ever before. Heritage is both a continuation of and a departure from 2008's Watershed, more similar perhaps,to the experimental detour they took with Damnation in 2003. The acoustic guitar is more present than ever,there are keyboards straight out of Deep Purple,and I can already hear the "extreme" metal fanboys grumbling about all the clean vocals.
The 1970's influence is also heavier than ever. Aside from the previously mentioned Deep Purple,flavors of King Crimson,Yes and Rush make appearances here but don't dominate or sound like simple rip-offs of those bands. Even the haters should be able to admit,Opeth always sounds like themselves.Watershed guitarist Fredrik Akesson is still in the fold and makes an able foil to Akerfeldt. Jazz has been as influence from the beginning and continues to  poke it's head in here,especially in some of the guitar tones and chord progressions.
  So,will metal fans accept such a diverse,trend-ignoring album? Who knows. Is it heavy metal? Who cares. Listeners who are aware of their music history should ignore the kids who seem to think Opeth invented prog/metal and just enjoy. Listeners who feel the vocalist needs to sound like a Muppet in order to be "real" should feel free to not listen,Opeth weren't talking to you anyway.

Plenty more reviews below...

Grateful Dead - Europe 72 Vol. 2
   If the recent,giant box set containing the entire 1972 Europe tour was too much for your ears or your wallet,this will make a far more sensible substitute. With two discs of the Dead at one of their many artistic high points and no repeat songs from the original album,this is a winner.

Joey DeFrancesco - 40
   Quite simply,the best organist on the planet. Arizona folks,I'll see you at his upcoming appearence at The Rhythm Room on September 27th!


Gary Moore - Live at Montreux 2010
   This is Moore at his best: freed of the studio that sometimes dulled his absolutely blistering guitar tone,live and letting it rip! Was there anybody better at the "my amp is about to catch on fire" tone than Gary Moore?

The Jayhawks - Mockingbird Time
   Hopfully these guys will sell a few records this time around. They've delivered a worthy collection of tunes that should gain them plenty of new fans.

Duke Robillard - Low Down and Tore Up
   This could have been just another formulaic entry into the ever expanding "blues guy tosses together a collection of songs from when he was a kid" albums that seem to be popular right now. Robillards fine taste,authentic tone and great playing turn it into a success.

Bill Frisell - Blues Dream  (Reissue)
  Any self respecting Guitar Omnivore reader should have this already but if not,here's one of his best,back in print.

Kenny Burrell - Tenderly
   Just Burrell and his guitar,encompassing everything he's all about: blues,ballads,standards,bossa nova and even a vocal tune.

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