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"Heavy Persuasion" (Lion Music)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

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Hard rock instrumental guitar albums used to be a rare thing. Sure, you'd see them now and again but - for the most part - they were usually difficult to find. Now, they seem to be everywhere, especially with shredders like Steve Vai, Joe Satriani and Gary Hoey enjoying such popularity.

Unfortunately, most of the lesser-known self-proclaimed guitar wizards can't support an entire instrumental album. Their CDs may feature a track or two that grabs your attention but - for the most part - you keep wanting to reach for that "next track" button.

Happily, such is not the case with the music of Torben Enevoldsen. What sets Enevoldsen apart from the rest of the "riff-raff" (get it? riff raff?) is that Enevoldsen knows that shredding alone is not enough. Enevoldsen pays close attention to each track's structure and pace; its overall tone and atmosphere. Enevoldsen knows that each track must stand on its own (especially with the absence of vocals) and he succeeds beautifully.

"Heavy Persuasion" begins with the title track, a mid-tempo number with a chunky, rhythmic bassline that enhances Enevoldsen's six-string derring-do over it. Track two, "Desert Groove" speeds things up a little, offering a Megadeth-like riff and a Satriani-style lead that defines the track's title. "Cloud Nine" is up next, and it's a moody little number that features razor-sharp guitar throughout. "Another Page" follows and is, so far, the mellowest title on the CD, again bringing to mind the work of Satriani. 

Track 5, "Go Figure," is another brilliant blending of sharp leads and solid riffs. "Temple of Hope" follows and is reminiscent of Yngwie Malmsteen though without the endless and obvious patterns. "Temple of Hope" also branches out considerably whereas Malmsteen's work tends not to. "Spacewalk" is just what you might expect from the title: a somewhat spacey little number that you might expect to hear in the background of the next "Heavy Metal" movie.

"Heads Up" is track #8 and its powerful riff backed by somewhat gentler lead work makes for an interesting change of pace. "About Time" is next. This track is a mild one, again very reminiscent of Satriani. "Off Limits" closes the CD in decidedly strong fashion. Amidst soaring and throbbing guitars, clips of what sound like newscasts regarding police brutality are intermixed. Interesting stuff, indeed.

Fans of the likes of Satriani and Vai will no doubt find the work of Torben Enevoldsen more than listenable - they'll probably find themselves another guitarist to add to their favorites list. Fans of instrumental rock will also thoroughly enjoy "Heavy Persuasion." If you haven't heard much of this type of music, this isn't a bad place to start.

Playing on "Heavy Persuasion" are: Torben Enevoldsen (who also produced) - guitars; drum programming (on "Spacewalk" and "About Time"; Flemming Hansen - bass; Mickey Hurricane - drums and castanets on "Cloud Nine"; Thomas Kruse provided the cowbell for "Go Figure."

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"Guitarisma" (Roxon)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

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It's very hard to review an instrumental album. The song structure is different, you have to pay more attention to the musicianship and the artist's intent becomes harder to define.

"Guitarisma" by Torben Enevoldsen, however, isn't difficult to review at all. First, it's not entirely an instrumental album. Second, Torben's fretwork makes it very clear where each song is coming from and, perhaps more importantly, where it's going.

Take the CD's opening track, for instance. "Just in Case" is a smooth little boogie number that boasts wicked lead riffs and chunky choruses. No vocals on this one; just pure rock'n'roll.

"Indian Summer," up next, sounds just like its name. It's a gentler, breezy number with soaring guitars instead of chunky ones and a lazier beat. It's got some chunk a little further in but it still rolls smoothly.

Track #3, "Time Ran Out," sounds like a radio hit out of the 80s, and is the first track featuring vocals by Kenny Lubcke. What's great about this song is that it sounds like a Slaughter or Warrant tune with more creative guitars.

The balance of the CD plays out with more of the same. "For A Friend," sounds like it could have come off a modern romance film soundtrack; "Take Your Pick" features guitars that sing like those of Steve Cropper and then morph into Megadeth territory. "Reach for Perfection" is another hit-bound vocal number; "Maybe Some Day" features some virtuoso fretwork and a fugue-like feel that blends exceptionally well; "What If...?" the final track, is a up-tempo, almost experimental number that explores exactly what its title asks.

Despite the fact that Torben Enevoldsen's name is on the CD (and rightfully so; Enevoldsen plays all guitars, wrote all the music and lyrics, arranged the music and co-produced the CD), his able band deserves special recognition as well: All are excellent and their talents merge well with Enevoldsen's. 

Fans of instrumental guitar wizards (i.e., Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Gary Hoey, etc.) will thrill to "Guitarisma." Others who prefer vocals with their rock'n'roll will enjoy this CD as well and may come to appreciate the "rock-as-instrumental" art form as well.

Performing on "Guitarisma" are Torben Enevoldsen, all guitars; Carsten Neumann, bass; Christian Rajaki, bass on "Just in Case," "Calm Waters" and "What If...?"; Kenny Lubcke, lead vocals; Torben Lysholm, drum programming and vocals. 

Rating Guide:

retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes) A classic. This record will kick your ass.

retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes) Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes) So-so. You've heard better.

retinysaw.gif (295 bytes) Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

restinks.jpg (954 bytes) Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2000 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 29 Dec 2019 15:18:30 -0500.