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Ivan Mihaljevic & Side Effects - 2010 - "Destination Unknown"

(48:35, SG Records)


*****
                 
TRACK LIST:                   

1.  Instant Star 4:21
2.  The Curse 6:15
3.  Choosh Pies 3:51
4.  Post-Apocalyptic Images 2:15
5.  Dreamscapes 4:44
6.  Shadows 4:21
7.  The Pirate Song 3:32
8.  Sorry I 3:30
9.  Your Plane Flew Away 5:59
10. Sorry II 2:44
11. Hollow Wish 7:03

LINEUP:

Ivan Mihaljevic  vocals; guitars; keyboards
Majkl Jagunic  bass 
Alen Frljak  drums 
With:
Brett Garsed  guitars (5, 9)
Igor Tatarevic  keyboards (4, 5, 7, 9, 11)

Prolusion. Croatian composer and multi-instrumentalist Ivan MIHALJEVIC, still in his early 20s, has actively been pursuing a career on his local music scene since he was in his teens and is currently a member of Croatia's arguably most popular hard rock band, Hard Time. In the last few years he's also begun exploring his potential as a solo artist. "Destination Unknown" is his second solo production, and was released in the fall of 2010 by the Italian label SG Records.

Analysis. Mihaljevics initial production, "Sandcastle", was an effort that intrigued me quite a lot just about a year ago at the time of writing: a diverse constellation of tracks by a clearly talented artist able to craft solid material with relative ease. And while this sophomore effort overall hasn't had quite the same impact on me, it is a step forward on a fair number of levels. High quality mix and production, a better developed general identity and compositions that technically seems to be a notch above are all positive aspects to note for those familiar with his first solo production. And there are a fair number of impressive compositions at hand as well, the clear highlight among those, in my opinion, being the rather aptly named Shadows. With an emphasis on darker instrumental textures, this richly atmospheric folk rock-based excursion is a vital and enthralling piece featuring layered guitars, dark percussion details and a very nice contrasting flute solo that makes the odd appearance. As diversity still seems to be something of a key word for Mihaljevic, other standout efforts include Dreamscapes, an instrumental guitar excursion that sounds like an escapee from Satriani's "Surfing with the Alien" album in expression as well as quality, the brief symphonic-textured ballad that is Post-Apocalyptic Images, the sophisticated neo-classical and shred landscapes explored on Choosh Pies, again with a symphonic backdrop adding a touch of sophistication to the proceedings, and the Satriani- and folk-tinged effort The Pirate Song is another number that makes a solid impression. The rest of the album is arguably just as well made, but explores stylistic territories where it is more difficult to make an impression: ballads, power ballads and also a more straightforward variety of hard rock. For people like me, who have immersed themselves in probably hundreds of hours of different songs exploring these subsets of rock, a song really has to be a remarkable effort to make an impact. Mihaljevic isn't quite there yet to my ears, but those with a true passion for such excursions and those who didn't spend most of the 1980's listening to music will most likely find these tracks to be on par with the rest of the material at hand.

Conclusion. "Destination Unknown" is similar to Mihaljevic's initial solo production by way of covering many stylistic bases, but in this case moving away from the realms of progressive metal and closing in on a more mainstream-oriented hard rock approach, albeit with tendencies towards frequent use of subtle details instrumentally, compositionally and in the overall arrangements. A core audience of sorts for this disc may be hard rock fans with a taste for sophisticated details in general and those who enjoy Joe Satriani just as much as Deep Purple in particular.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: March 4, 2011
The Rating Room


Related Links:

SG Records
Ivan Mihaljevic


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