[ SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS
TRACK LIST: 1. Sandcastle 4:18 2. Cascading Mirrors 6:26 3. Distant World 3:39 4. Bulldozer 4:33 5. Questions in My Mind-1 4:16 6. Hi-tech Orient 2:17 7. Questions in My Mind-2 4:31 8. Spring 2:16 9. Empathy 4:17 10. Macedonian War Song 2:17 11. Friend 3:50 12. Shimmering Karma 4:36 13. The Road to Nowhere 2:36 14. Raindrops 2:33 LINEUP: Ivan Mihaljevic – vocals; guitars; keyboards, programming Majkl Jagunic – bass Craig Devine – drums With: Igor Tatarevic – keyboards (track 9, 14) John Denner – guitars (4) Taher Sanuri – vocals (9)
Prolusion. Born in 1986, Croatian artist Ivan MIHALJEVIC can truly be described as a young and aspiring talent. He has been playing in bands since his teens, and was only 18 years old when he performed with a band at the prestigious Wacken Open Air festival in Germany in 2005. "Sandcastle" is Mihaljevic first solo album, and was issued in 2008.
Analysis. While the lethargy created by television, game consoles and computers have made young, aspiring and truly talented musicians more scarce than they used to be, they are still out there. Mihaljevic is most certainly one of them, and in his early twenties he's managed to acquire a surprising wealth of skills and seems to have harnessed and evolved his natural abilities very nicely indeed. On this first solo effort he makes his debut as a composer, besides showcasing his skills as a guitarist. Furthermore, he also takes care of vocals, keyboards and percussion, and proves that he's capable of handling these additional tasks with relative ease as well. Diversity is something of a key word for this production. Ivan's talents span several areas, and the styles, sounds and atmospheres covered on this disc are pretty diversified too. 80's inspired traditional heavy metal and Malmsteen inspired takes on classical music stand side by side with dreamy guitar excursions and even an experimental electro-metal venture with as much techno as rock in its foundations have found its way on to this venture. In some ways this CD actually reminds me somewhat of Joe Satriani's "Flying in a Blue Dream": Several stylistic expressions are covered, we're served quite a few tracks with vocals, and the compositions are well developed as songs and not merely constructs to support the guitar playing. And, while Mihaljevic hasn't produced an album quite of the same quality as the guitar hero of yesteryear, he might one day do just that. He's got talent, and apparently the drive to develop it as well. As far as the guitar parts of this excursion goes, Mihaljevic does show off his chops very nicely, with atmospheric but driving guitar soloing coming across as something of a speciality of his. Shredding is mostly incorporated sparingly but effectively, and there's also quite a few examples of compositions taking on decidedly mellower territories than the ones of a hard rock or metal origin. The compositions are more often than not refined creations, some of them rather sophisticated too, but there's also room for a few down-to-earth, surging hard rock ventures.
Conclusion. "Sandcastle" is a production covering many areas, and, while a tad rough in places, there's a passion and joy felt throughout this album that adds value and interest to this disc. The diversity of this album does call for listeners with eclectic musical tastes though, and, as the guitar is the dominating musical element, potential buyers should probably have more than a passing interest in this instrument. However, those who feel right at home with such a description should find this initial effort of Ivan Mihaljevic to be an interesting affair, and should find investigating the efforts of this artist well worth the time spent.
[ SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS - LIST | BANDLISTS ]