"Defiance" (Steiger Productions; 2003)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton


Ken Steiger's "Defiance" is a near-perfect instrumental rock guitar CD that does what too many instrumental CDs don't: kick you solidly in your rock'n'roll ass.

Boasting chops that bear influences of all the greats, Steiger delivers on every track. Hints of everyone from Eddie Van Halen to Joe Satriani to Adrian Smith to Carlos Santana float about in Steiger's style but never so much that his own individuality and remarkable talent aren't at the forefront.

In addition to the chunky riffs and razor-sharp leads, "Defiance" is also about songwriting. That may sound a little unusual when you're talking about an instrumental CD, but Steiger has a way of making each track sound as full and as complete as any vocal-based rock song you'll hear out there. In other words, "Defiance" is all about making solid music and not just serving as a showcase for Steiger's considerable talent.

Of course, it isn't just Steiger's fretwork alone that makes "Defiance" so great. He has a little help from his friends here and his friends are no slouches themselves. Also appearing on "Defiance" are Derek Sherinian (who also produced), Virgil Donati, Gary Hoey and Tony Franklin. And the CD was mastered by Gilby Clarke and Albert Law.

Fans of the upper echelon of instrumental guitar (i.e., Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Gary Hoey, etc.) will find lots to recommend "Defiance" but those who don't usually like this type of CD will be impressed ... and entertained ... as well.

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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 2004 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 28 Aug 2022 15:32:20 -0400.