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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Billy Connally

The Silent Canvas

Review by Larry Toering

Not only is Billy Connally a great modern virtuoso guitarist, but he also does his own backing tracks - and does them very well. The Silent Canvas is chock full of serious chops and then some. This disc takes the listener on a ride to the sky and back ten times, with ups, downs and all arounds. He is quite a string genius, but not only that, with tracks such as “Stalker,” ”Transcendental Medication,” “Harbinger,” and “Sonata In Sadness Minor,” along with the title number it proceeds to cut through the ear drums like a laser beam. This fantastic recording is released on Steve Vai's Digital Nations label. He's been called “the hand that rocks the guitar,” so by all means strap on the headphones and enjoy the virtuosic combustion.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Fallen Axis

No time is wasted as the opener blasts the senses wide open and the groovy concept begins. Textures galore in a very Steve Vai / Joe Satriani league approach. This is an absolutely fantastic cut, with a properly repeated hook from heaven. He is simply all over the place and it just ends too soon.

Stalker
This has a chunky monkey riff with layered grooves and a very hard rocking melody. It’s a great track that really gets the adrenaline flowing. This is great stuff!
Perigean Tide
We get more of the same here with cosmic fills backing the cool atmospheric arrangement. This is one of my favorite tracks on this outstanding piece of work. High pitched squeals keep it all together with fret burning passion. One has to love the fed-back sustain displayed here.
Bending Kharma
This is an appropriately titled piece of work with a sound to match the whole idea. The concept just rolls along, and this cut really keeps things interesting with its huge metal vibe.
Transcendental Medication
This picks it up a notch in the pace. An awesome track, and by this time the half way mark is approaching and there is no turning it off. A mountain of guitar thrills proceeds to numb the senses with little to no slip whatsoever. I think this helps sum up the thread of it all. It suddenly ends but does not disappoint in the process.
The Silent Canvas
This being the title track, it pulls no punches after a light sort of intro before flying to beautiful soaring heights - more chunk please!
Kaleidoscope
On this track there is a more straight forward approach but it works all the more, just a glider of a tune. Yet, it’s so complex at the same time. This is actually one of the more satisfying cuts to my ears. It is most excellent, indeed.
Trying
This sounds a lot like part two of the previous track, so it’s again more of the same, which is on par with everything else.
Reflexion
Cosmic feedback is once again featured in the moody track. Things get very metallic and even super dark. I simply love this!
Cognitive Dissonance
Once again it sounds like a continuation of the previous number, keeping things dark for the most part but coming on a little stronger. By this time if the listener is not battered and bruised they're simply missing the plot. This track also features some brave percussion from this multi talented artist. This is crazy good!
Sonata in Sadness Minor
This is beautiful and has to be up there with my favorites on the entire disc. We get a subtler approach for once and it delivers big time in the overall process. This is another excellent cut with insane melodies. One can taste the juice of delight so easily; it’s like sugar.
Blue Voudo
More percussion gets this track going; the drum sound is rather authentic and very dominant. Billy Connally proves he isn't just a guitarist here. This contains a more well rounded side to his great playing. One has no choice but to reckon with his force.
Harbinger
Closing the disc is one of the longer tracks saved for the last drop of greatness. This really wraps up everything into the great package it is.
 
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