"Heaven's Call" (Self-produced; 2003)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Alan Lennon is a twenty-ish something guitarist from Ireland who has just put out his first proper release, "Heavenís Call," after releasing a couple of demos. Letís get right to the point: "Heavenís Call" is a great debut. If it wasnít for the fact that Iíd done some on-line research before listening to this disc I swear I would have guessed that Lennon was a veteran of the music scene that had somehow managed to escape my attention.

"Heavenís Call" is an instrumental CD with 8 tracks approaching 28-minutes in length. As such, it comes across as more of an EP than a full CD. But to talk about this is to belabor the message. In these 28-minutes Lennon manages to more than adequately display his talents.

While there is a bit of shredding on "Heavenís Call" (listen to "Ode To Becker" or "Cherry Bomb" if you need proof) Lennon takes a casual approach to most of his material. Lennon focuses on songs first and technique second. Lennon interjects his technical skills where appropriate but allows his melodic skills and songwriting skills to be the order of the day.

Lennon cites fellow guitarists Jason Becker and Shawn Lane as major influences. Lucky for me I am familiar with the music of both Becker and Lane. In Lennonís music I can hear the Becker and Lane influences, but I would never think Lennon was copying those artists. Although Lennon never mentions this anywhere on his website I also hear the subtle influence of Dire Straitsí Mark Knopfler, especially in his ability to use phrasing in his lead guitar playing to accentuate the underlying music.

My pro-Irish bias certainly goes in Lennonís favor. Granted, I donít often get to apply my pro-Irish bias towards my musical interests as very little in the way of extreme music (or instrumental music for that matter) from Ireland manages to cross my desk. Bias or no bias, "Heavenís Call" is a superb introduction to an obviously talented guitarist.

"Heavenís Call" was produced by Alan Lennon and engineered by Richard McCullough. The disc sounds great Ė the production and mixing is crystal clear.

Alan Lennon is joined by Shane McCullagh on bass, and Bryan Walsh on drums. Richard McCullough contributes keyboards and synthesizers.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright © 2001 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.