Album Review: Xander Demos – Guitarcadia

I always enjoy when I hear of a new artist and I end up really liking them. That’s what happened with Xander Demos.  When I first saw this band come across our inbox, I didn’t know if that was a person’s name or it meant something else.  The album title, Guitarcadia, didn’t even dawn on me that this might be a guitar virtuoso kind of album.  That’s how much I wasn’t paying attention…that is, until I hit the play button.  It didn’t take long to hear Joe Satriani-like guitar-mania grace my ear drums.  For those of you who know me, I am easily impressed with good quality guitar shredding.  Guitarcadia is just what the doctor ordered.

Guitar-based albums can sometimes be quite monotonous.  If a guitar album is nothing but solos from beginning to end, the master guitar work becomes its own worst enemy and just gets boring.  Xander Demos did a great job of avoiding this pitfall by employing several songs with vocals and doing a couple of classic non-metal covers that turned out quite well – more on those later.

Right Angles immediately begins with a quick drum intro before getting right to the point about the album – melodic guitar solos.  Within the first minute of play-time, it’s evident that Xander Demos isn’t just your wannabe guitar star.  The song is composed mainly of long solos stung together with a catchy rhythm section.  By the time the first song is over my first comparison is to master shredder Joe Satriani.

Initially, I assumed the album would be all guitars, but the third song Under A Darkened Sky, introduced a vocalist and along with the more metal-style riffing and some double bass drum; a higher octane song.  The vocal work by Kevin Rasel is impressive.  Sometimes vocals on guitar albums can be a little weak, but this song has a strong vocal presence which was showcased due to less evident guitar-work…cool job of Xander letting the guy sing and not trying to subdue him with tons of solos.  Don’t get me wrong, there is a solo, but it’s during the designated solo spot…not trying to overshadow the lyrics.

White Knuckle features some atmospheric elements.  It brings in a little more depth which keeps the album alive.  Overall, White Knuckle is a catchy song; a foot-tapping rhythm that is listening enjoyment. Each song on the album is its own flavor of guitar work.  When you listen to the album a few times, each song starts to stand out and I think that is a defining moment when you know the artist gave enough life to the songs to give them individual personality.

The two covers I mentioned earlier are non-metal covers that I thought were brilliant and instantly recognizable. The first one is The Boys of Summer by Don Henley.  When this one first started I had to take a second to make sure I knew what I was hearing because I never expected to hear this one turned into a rock song blasted with cool solos.  Vocalist Mike Sciullo’s range was right on par with Henley…a close match and he executed the song perfectly; a great cover.  I used to hear this song all the time when I was a young pup…MTV liked to play this video.  The other cover does not feature vocals, but was still easily recognizable, Lady in Red by Chris DeBurgh.

Overall, the album was a pleasure to listen to.  The production seemed a bit lacking, but probably because this was a download promotion.  Despite the lack of high quality production, Xander Demos was a treat to listen to and kept my attention all the way to the end.  His use of some atmospheres and vocalists made the album well-rounded, energetic, and in line with other great guitar-player artists.

Release Date:  24 Aug 2012

Record Company:  Rock N Growl Records

Nationality:  United States


About Reggie

Just a dude writing a heavy metal blog and always on the prowl for a cool metal show. I am also a family man...first and foremost!

Posted on November 16, 2012, in Album Reviews and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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