Independent/TSM – [Release date 05.03.13]
Turkish/German guitarist, composer, song writer and producer Barish Kepic is best known for his work with the likes of Powerworld, Jaded Heart, Evidence One and Faro and this album is everything you would expect from a guitar mangler of the highest order.
Sure, there are moments of dazzling technique, unbelievable tones and flat out intensity, but these are matched by some very strong melodies on an album that finds it’s equilibrium via dazzling instrumental music and the necessary feel to make it more than just a shredders paradise.
It’s 4 years since his debut solo album ‘Sensitive Touch’ – the title of which still lies at the heart of ‘Addiction’ – as Barish caresses, cajoles, whammies, legato’s and vibrato’s the hell out of his guitar with restless, imaginative abandon and solos that frequently aim for the stars and usually succeed.
The key to this exhilarating album is that he’s met the challenges that instrumental guitar music sets him, head on. Aside from recording the guitar and bass parts himself, he’s judiciously chosen his guests to add subtly different influences when required, be it the faux sitar and Chitral Somapala (Powerquest/Firewind) penned intro to ‘Lost in Samsara’, the synth pop keyboard of Ferdy Doernberg (Axel Rudi Pell) on ‘While the City Sleeps’, or the unexpected Michael Bormann vocal (Jaded Heart) on the closing acoustic version of Hendrix’s ‘Little Wing’.
But these are merely extra colours to a song driven album full of fluid waves of shredding that add to, rather than dominate the album.
‘Addiction’ is a triumph of diversity and feel over technique, as evidenced by the sledgehammer power and soaring melody of ‘Vagabundear’, the unison guitars and stop-start dynamics of ‘The Long Road’ and the synth bedded, incisive melodic lines and sense of grandeur generated by ‘Book of Destiny’
No solo is ever the same, as each track seems to reach for another level of intensity while a mix of jagged, twisting, turning rhythm work and crunching riffs underpin his fluid soling.
Such is the intensity of Barish’s playing that when he opts for some unexpected restraint on the short bluesy shuffle of ‘Buzzed & Blue Hearted’, you have to double check the tracking just to make sure that the piece does indeed stand alone. On two previous tracks he employs sudden pregnant pauses before returning to the respective songs.
But the break works well, giving the familiar melody of ‘Only By Night’ some extra punch. He explores some amazing tones on ‘Inside Illusions’ and saves his heaviest riffs for ‘All That Idle Talk’ before some mangled guitar squalls and a meandering melody that might have come from a Satriani album. It’s a very rare occasion where Kepic is content to rock out and not let the melody dominate the track.
I guess given his chops, his compositional vision and focused ambition, ‘Addiction’ is the perfect title for an album that perfectly distils a guitar monster of our time and will surely appeal to all self respecting rock fans. Incredible really to realize that an album of such breathtaking virtuosity should be looking for a label! **** (4/5)
Review by Pete Feenstra
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