Xander Demos – Guitarcadia
Score: 8/10 Stars
Looking at the name of the artist one might get confused and assume this is some kind of a demo recording of an artist named “Xander.” The truth is, Xander Demos is his name and the last name is pronounced “Dee Mose.” Xander Demos is a shredding guitarist and a pretty good one at that.
High energy and crunchy, “Right Angles” still manages to convey melody. It’s actually got a bit of 1980s metal feel to it in some ways. The guitar is expressive and this is one of the highlights of the set. There is even more melody on “Nothing Major,” but ir doesn’t work as well as far as I’m concerned. For one thing the keyboards seem to cheapen it a little and for another there are some bits that seem to stretch toward AOR pop music. To me “Under a Darkened Sky” (the first one to feature vocals) sounds a bit like Fates Warning. It’s a killer tune and the vocals give a chance for the guitar soloing to take a back seat. Yes, there’s an extensive guitar solo in the middle of the song, but the guitar doesn’t have to carry all the melodies like it did on the first two songs. That’s kind of a relief. I can’t stand the little electronic music drop backs on “White Knuckle Driving.” They feel cheesy. The guitar soloing is pretty spectacular, though and the whole thing rocks. Next comes the title track, but by this point the shredding is starting to get a bit tiresome. It really doesn’t do anything to stand out from the rest. Next up is “Woodshed Sonata” and here is a thrashy intensity here and some nice melodies. It’s just not that different, though. The monotony is wearing thin. That said, when it shifts to the melodic section later and the keyboard comes over the top, it gets a little more of that Dream Theater vibe. A ripping version of Don Henley’s “Boys of Summer” comes next. It’s a great touch and definitely does a lot to alleviate the monotony. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty cool. Although “Chase the Sun” is back into the same guitar hero territory that dominates the set, after that little break it seems a little fresh. That makes this work reasonably well.There’s really nothing to make “Metagalactic” stand out at all. It’s not bad, but not that great.
That electronic thing is back on Demos’ cover of Chris DeBurgh’s “Lady in Red,” but it’s not as bad here. This is just a little cheesy as far as I’m concerned. Of course, I’m not a big fan of the original song. I suppose moving the vocals to guitar is a nice touch, though and actually elevates it a bit.
This album is a little uneven and does suffer a bit from too much guitar soloing that makes it a bit monolithic. Still, it’s pretty good.
Purchase Link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/guitarcadia/id547440087
by Brian White