"The Journey of Life" (Self-released; 2007)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

The cover art for Dean McGinnes' "The Journey of Life" makes it look like some kind of acoustic job or a folk album and at times it's a little bit of both. Throughout most of the CD, "Journey" is an instrumental album that ranges from hard rock to the calmer, more serene sounds -- such as "Hypnotized," which is deadly boring with its repetitive riffs and slow tempo. "2ism" is no better and, in fact, is so repetitious it'll about drive you crazy. Thankfully, "The End is Near" almost makes up for it with its majesty and power.

For the most part, the other tracks are kind of interesting and manage to hold the listener's attention. The thing that works about them is that they're not just tracks that are designed to showcase McGinnes' admirable musical ability. They're tracks that play like songs rather than just displays of six string prowess.

Don't get me wrong: McGinnes can shred when he wants to, but what makes his solos grab your attention is that they're almost singable, making them even more unique and memorable.

If there's any problem with "The Journey of Life" it's that McGinnes too often makes the mistake of repeating the same notes over and over again. That may sometimes work on a piece with vocals (some of Led Zeppelin's songs are perfect examples of that) but it doesn't work in a instrumental piece; in fact, it becomes dull and ultimately annoying to listen to.

Overall, "The Journey of Life" is an impressive album with a wide variety of musical styles. They're some awesome musicianship going on here, but sometimes the repetitiveness takes some of the pleasure and dynamic out of it.

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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 2010 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 11 Sep 2022 13:59:47 -0400 .