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Sam Russell

Impetuous Desire

Review by Gary Hill

If you give this album a listen, you'll surely be impressed by Sam Russell's mastery of the guitar. If you research the man, though, you are likely to be shocked to find out that he has a Masters Degree in Astrophysics. What is it with great guitarists and Astrophysics (Brian May also has advanced degrees in the topic)? Russell has done neo-classical music, and this is his first heavy metal album. It's a meaty treat with great guitar work. The thing is, sometimes guitar players create music for no other purpose than to showcase their guitar skills. That's not the case here. The songs are songs that just happen to have great guitar playing. There are several guest performers on this album, my personal favorite being Doro Pesch. This is a cool set. I look forward to hearing more from this artist.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2018  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
The Disciples Hand
Intriguing guitar sounds with a mellow and rather intricate texture open this. It has a real prog ballad kind of vibe to it. That grows out for a while. Then the cut screams out with a real technical metal fury. The vocals come over the top as this works onward. This is meaty and yet melodic. It's such a tasty and screaming hot number. It has an intriguing vocal arrangement and some cool changes. It borders metallic prog at times.
Waves of Tomorrow
More pure metal, this powers into being with style. This lands in the melodic, epic metal zone. It's very much real steel and has some great guitar textures. The instrumental section has some killer technical guitar soloing.
Passing Light
A more mainstream metal sound is on display here. This has some catchy hooks and some real meat on its bones. It's also suitably armed with some smoking guitar work. There is a dramatic movement mid-track with spoken vocals and some cool riffs.
Longing

A balladic number, the guitar sounds on this are so intricate and powerful. Classical strings add to the arrangement. This number features Jacqueline Phillips. It's sort of an extended instrumental introduction to the next number.

Leigh Woods
Featuring the inimitable Doro Pesch on vocals, this come in mellow, feeling like an extension of the previous number. It works forward turning into sort of a power ballad kind of number. It's a great piece and a nice change of pace.
The Darkest Night
This is more screaming hot metal that stomps out from the starting gun. This is driving and quite meaty. The powerhouse instrumental section at the end has some great guitar work.
Tonight
Coming in tentatively, this works out to another killer melodic metal stomper. It has some fast paced technical guitar work built into it.
Fire, Desire

Featuring Ryan Mueller, this one has death metal vocals. Musically, it's a driving, screaming cut that works really well. I'm not a big fan of extreme metal vocals, but this cut works well.

RiffstruMental
This instrumental starts fairly mellow. It grows out into more metallic territory as it continues. This is technical prog metal with some killer guitar soloing built into it. I suppose given the title, you'd expect that. After that runs through it drops back to mellower stuff to continue, becoming quite intricate and powerful.
 
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