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  Joe Bonamassa Live LP & Tour

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  Joe Bonamassa Live!

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  Amy Macdonald Rescheduled Gig

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Kitt Wakeley’s New Rock Symphony


Kitt Wakeley SYMPHONY OF SINNERS & SAINTS. Kitt Wakeley

“I knew I wanted to do something bigger and better than the last project, which was the MACEDONIAN ORCHESTRA AND CHOIR. That gave me a lot of credibility with many of my peers. Therefore I wanted to build on that momentum. So, I set goals and I mention them out loud in front of others. When I say I’m going to do something, I’m going to do it. It holds me accountable…I agonize over every note…I don’t want the listener to get bored. I don’t want it to be stagnant, therefore, build-ups, transitions, bridges, harmonies, call and responses, and the artistic purpose of the song can take several weeks.”

An adventurous project like this deserves attention, and repeat plays…The album opens with the driving symphonic rock of ‘Wicked Ways’ which arrives complete with explosive bass rhythm, melody aplenty and guitar riffs that rise and dive like monstrous sea waves. ‘Sinners and Saints’ adopts a darker tone and subtly builds with distant orchestral sounds behind its drummed rhythmic throb. Then choral voices join in to lift the song dramatically, spurned on by another strong melody.

Thus far the album has begun its entertaining journey before that maestro of rock guitar arrives in the shape of Joe Satriani (himself an experienced exponent of this style of music). Choral voices enter early after powerful orchestral sounds introduce the song. It’s another driving symphonic rock composition and despite Satriani’s major contribution I’m finding too close similarities with the previous songs. At times I’m also feeling an ecclesiastical vibe. ‘Hello Again’ offers welcome sonic respite with piano dominating the song ahead of a gentle orchestral string backdrop. The song is then punctuated by ocean-deep drumming but well-controlled. Wakeley has strong melodic sensibility and this is another fine example. The song is one of my album highlights.

‘Conflicted’ again slows pace with another fine Satriani contribution while ‘No Apologies’ features most fragile piano and orchestral string notes which begin to build to an exciting crescendo. ‘Requiem For The Fallen’ is more classically symphonic with piano notes making a return along with sharp choral moments that dip in and out through the latter stages of the song. As far as the sound matching the song title’s sentiment I’m not sure - it’s too hard. ‘End Of My Journey’ sees the welcome return of piano, this time with more solid notes in what is a distinctly pop symphonic style. This could easily be featured playing over radio airwaves with its more substantial vocal content and hook-laden melody.

‘You Gave Me Wings’ is introduced by an extended keyboard passage before the subtle orchestra arrangement chimes in. It’s one of the gentler songs here. ‘Echoes Of Amadeus’ lifts the rock anti in no uncertain manner with chugging guitar and drums beating a path like a speeding train. The brass section rises around the middle-eight to reprise the sound that so dominates the first half of the album.

This is an album that’s hard to strongly criticise. I suspect it would inspire more in a live setting and as far as symphonic rock goes my preference is for Metallica’s latest S&M2, and recordings from other symphonic rock bands such as Within Temptation. And therein lies the problem in that it will be compared to other similar but better records, and because it tends to straddle between genres while compromising too far. I also find that too many of the songs, especially in the first half sound very similar (something Metallica avoid due to their song-writing and superb orchestral arrangements). Never the less, its an attractive listen that certainly holds the attention and will please many music lovers.



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