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Roger Pederson

Guitar Madness ...and other nice songs

Review by Gary Hill

Very little of this is actually progressive rock. Still, to me, the territory that lands in the center of classical music and heavy metal is, by definition, progressive rock. That’s why I’ve landed this set here. It’s a good album that’s instrumental except for the last tune. It is a bit heavy on shredding, but that’s not really an issue. This never really seems to feel redundant or tired. It’s a strong set from start to finish, with some definite highlights interspersed.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Classic Maniac

The musical progressions on this are purely classical. The impetus is hard rocking. The guitar sound is almost metal. The whole thing is very technical and very impressive.

Sweep Sheep
This screamer is even more crazed than the previous tune was. There are times when the guitar sound makes me think of Queen. There is more of a rock song type structure at play here, but there are still bits of classical music built into it.
Leftovers
Acoustic guitar is the basis for this. The cut doesn’t lose intensity or technical speed, though. It seems to be part classical music and part flamenco. It’s all powerhouse playing, though.
Sicko
This one is part crazed technical metal and part crunchy prog. The guitar is still screaming hot and soloing throughout.
Just over those Hills
Another acoustic based piece, jazz and world music seem to merge here. This makes me think of something Al Di Meola might do. It’s a great piece of music. It is also much less about frantic soloing and more about evocative playing.
Response to Bulls**t
Here’s another that lands in the technical, classically tinged metallic territory. That said, it’s one that’s less about the crazed soloing and more about a groove and vibe. Sure, there is still some serious shredding, but it’s less the focus of the piece.
Tribute
This might be my favorite piece here. The melodies are so powerful. It’s definitely about flash, but there is some. It’s one that’s more purely in the prog rock vein. If you want to find out what the best of this album is about, there is probably no better place to start. It has some tasteful shredding along with a lot of great melodic music.
Acoustic Fingerspitzengefuhl
This is a short classical acoustic guitar piece.
The Swarm
This screamer is based in part on ”Flight of the Bumble Bee.” It’s part metal, part classical and all cool. It has some cool melodies, too.
Snacks
A mellower piece, this is acoustic guitar based. It’s very old school classical in nature.
Bazinga
More of a shredding stomper, this has a real groove, too.
And a bottle of Rum
A short acoustic guitar solo gives way to an acoustic based “pirate song.” It really doesn’t land in the vicinity of shredding. Rather it’s all about melody and setting a scene. It’s one of the more unique pieces here. It’s also one of my favorites.
Twilight Zone
More shred heavy metallic jamming is the concept here. This one really screams and thrills.
Save me from Myself
This is the big change. It’s the only song with vocals. Those (along with keyboards on the tune) are provided by Johannes Stole. The cut is more of a mainstream rock tune with some prog elements built into it. It’s not my favorite thing here, but it does bring some variety. I think it might have served the album better somewhere in the middle, though, breaking up the tunes that are too similar. Still, this disc doesn’t really suffer from a monolithic texture, so it’s not that big of a deal.

 

 
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