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TRACK LIST: 1. Equinox 6:31 2. Lotus Effect 4:56 3. The Mansion of Lost Souls 4:54 4. Sorrow 3:18 5. Flight of the Sleeper 5:46 6. Entr’act 0:46 7. The Power of the Whip 4:06 8. Dream of the Dead Tree 3:45 9. Rise of the Titans 5:31 10. Ballade No-3 4:31 11. The Ride 4:13 12. Commiato 1:16 SOLO PILOT: Antonello Giliberto – guitars, bass; programming
Prolusion. Italian composer and musician Antonello GILIBERTO is, probably, something of an unknown entity outside of Italy. In his homeland he's been a guitar teacher for a few years, who also performed live on regular occasions with a rock band and a rockabilly band, and he has taken a lengthy education and a deeper interest in guitar playing in general. "The Mansion of Lost Souls" is his solo debut, and was self released in 2013.
Analysis. When reading through the biography of Giliberto, a lot of space is used to describe his interest and education in diverse forms of music in general and perhaps jazz rock and fusion in particular. It is also mentioned that he early became fond of neoclassical music, with veteran Swedish musician Yngwie Malmsteen described as a notable influence. And when a young guitarist does release his first solo album, I guess it's not really surprising that the end result is closer to his exploits than it is to anything jazz and fusion related. However, like most guitarists who release solo albums, Giliberto doesn't limit himself to one specific sound and approach. True enough there's a lot of neoclassical soloing on this production, and backed by riffs that fairly often end up sounding like material not too far removed from Malmsteen's musical turf, and that does indeed include some calmer, acoustic based pieces too. But there's also quite a lot of shredding here, done in a manner that brings artists like Tony MacAlpine to mind, and perhaps executed with a bit more grit and aggression to boot. The programmed rhythms and the frequently used galloping riffs do give the album somewhat of a power metal feel, even bordering thrash on a few occasions. But there's also room for more strictly melodic sequences, more careful, deliberate and longing affairs with more of an emphasis on mood and atmosphere than for technical virtuosity. A fine blend of different approaches to the guitar solo in other words, and also with room for plenty of gritty and at times intricate riff dominated sequences. The latter cases even sounding ever so slightly like Iron Maiden at times, with the opening sequences of The Ride a concrete example of just that. Giliberto's compositions are generally compelling affairs, as material of this kind goes, and with enough variety at hand to possibly warrant some interest from the progressive metal oriented crowd as well. Pleasant at worst and engaging at best, but also with a few detrimental details that will limit its reach somewhat. Mix and production aren't quite at the level a guy like me is used to, while the instruments are clearly divided, the darker toned riffs in particular do come across as ever so slightly muddy sounding to my ears. Not a major negative trait this one, but sound purists will most likely take notice. A feature that will be off-putting for a few more are the programmed drums. Well programmed I might add, but still with a sharp sound and a certain uniform dimension to them that does limit the potential of some of these compositions, at least as I experience them.
Conclusion. Antonello Giliberto's debut album "The Mansion of Lost Souls" is a production that is easily recommended to those who are fond of instrumental guitar albums with a firm base in metal, and the blend of neoclassical soloing, shredding and more delicate and careful melodic guitar soloing should see this album appeal to a fairly broad audience within the instrumental metal guitar segment. In particular those who don't mind some power metal flavors being a part of the whole.
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: January 5, 2014
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