Saturday, July 7, 2012

Chris Bickley - Tapestry Of Souls


“Great. Melodic rock. I don’t even know what means,”  I thought to myself as I listened to Chris Bickley’s CD called Tapestry Of Souls.  There are a plethora of influences heard in this album and I simply don’t know if melodic rock is the correct descriptive categorization.

The first track, Race Car Guy, has Eric Johnson, Robert Fripp, Guitar Hero video game overtones.  Track two, This Time It’s Gonna Hurt, has a hard rockin’ Texas Country Blues vibe  Fallen, the third track, is an instrumental emotional slow blues with heavily digitally processed guitar tone that morphs into spacy driving rock.  It is reminiscent of work by the late Gary Moore, as well as some of the early pieces by the progressive jazz rock band Return To Forever..

The next track, Crying Shame, is closer to a heavy metal song.  It is akin to efforts by Yngwie Malmsteen and King Crimson. The fifth track, All Or Nothing, is an instrumental that trips from one building guitar progression to another, punctuated by ripping electric guitar and bass solos, with a Joe Satriani, Steve Vai feel. Chemical Love follows with a return to the instrumental Guitar Hero feel of the first track, Race Car Guy.  It is highly technical shred with echoes of Eric Johnson’s Ah Via Musicom album. 

Track seven, Lead You Astray, is a dirty mix with echoed vocals, that had me thinking of pieces by Stratovarius.  The eighth offering is the title track, Tapestry Of Souls, a slowly building instrumental piece of acoustic and electric guitar and piano that breaks into an epic rock anthem soundscape, snaps into shred metal, then back to rock anthem and, finally back to a softly fading acoustic piece.  Truly poetic. Walk In The Park, heralds a change in tone. Bickley combines elements of country, rock, metal,.shred, and all around guitar mastery, adds a horn punctuated backbeat, and simply cooks up a stew of rock and roll, metal, country, and blues soul in this massively hot instrumental track. 

The penultimate track, A Step Behind, is a dark metal vocal pleader with a heavy bass line front and center.  It is theatre - a deep rock ballad, Scorpions-like, with touches of Yes and Rush - an instant classic.  The final track, Old No. 9,  is another acoustic electric amalgam that is the jazziest track on the release.  The metal is turned off and here Chris Bickley plays clean, soft, emotionally, and ends it all too soon.

This album is inspired. Bickley may call it “melodic rock,” but I’m neither sure that the label is entirely fitting, nor am I sure what it actually means. Let’s just say Chris Bickley is a guitar virtuoso with his skill fully on display on Tapestry Of Souls.and he rocks hard!

- Old School


Race Car Guy

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