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VARIOUS ARTISTS


"Handz of Danz" (Guitar Nine Records)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

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"Handz Of Danz" is six guys named Dan (duh!) who are part of this Guitar Nine Records compilation that features 14 instrumental tracks of guitar glory. Collectively, all the Dans have over 100 years of guitar-slinging experience and it shows.

It is probably best to discuss each Dan's songs in groups organized by each Dan. However, let it be said that the "Handz Of Danz" CD is sequenced wonderfully even though no single artists appears on consecutive tracks.

Daniel Wentworth struts his stuff on three songs. Wentworth comes closest to sounding like Joe Satriani with the surfing "Flyin' Down 94," the measured stomp of "Ten Feet Tall," and the angry, slow-burn of "Falling Down."

Project 7, featuring Dan Begelman, unloads a furious extended jam on "The Last Night" that encompasses everything from atmospheric washes to studious swaths of melody for the compilation's most demanding and potentially most rewarding song - I can easily hear a Shawn Lane influence. Begelman's other contribution , "Six Fingers," encircles the hard rock/boogie stomp of Dixie Dregs and recent Chris Poland. 

Dan Shimmyo's three tracks blaze in a more traditional guitar-slinger fashion, but somehow manages to provide contributions with their own identities. "Extemporalis" is straight from the Eddie Van Halen school of six-string boogie with Vai-flavors thrown in to the mix. "Sixty Cycle Hum" brings the future to the present with a mechanized tone and bristling backing track. "Reflections" is a schizophrenic number not unlike Joe Satriani's apocalyptic songs; "Reflections" also wins the award as my most favorite track on this compilation. 

Dan McAvinchey, the moving force behind "Handz Of Danz," only gets two songs to showcase his skills, but he showcases his skills with aplomb.  "Fingerz & Handz" is a hard rock tour de force that stomps its way through a series of charging rhythms. "River Danz" brings Gaelic melodies to the forefront for a nice detour of hard rock madness. 

Danny Masters sticks a sweet melody on "Vienna" that has a definite European-vibe to it although I highly doubt Masters drew his inspiration from any European artist. Masters swings with an extended blues jam on the live track "Texas Wind" that echoes blues great Stevie Ray Vaughn and country-rocker Junior Brown. 

Dan McInerney has got the "funk" as his music bounces and sways underneath his vibrant noodling on "Mabton Gateway To Bickelton" (extra credit question: does anybody have any idea what that title means?). Furthermore, McInerney shines on the country-rock-jazz-soul fusion vamp of "Cha Chaw". McInerney is the most Jeff Beck sounding of the six Dans. 

All in all, a pretty damn good guitar disc for all of you who like guitar instrumentals - and highly recommended for all guitar freakazoids.

"Handz Of Danz" was produced by Dan McAvinchey. 

The cool cover art by Jeff Gaither is a big bonus, too! Although, I wonder how he got the job since his name isn't "Dan."

For more information visit http://www.guitar9.com


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 1999 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 01 Oct 2003 18:58:19 -0500 .