Esoteric/Cherry Red [Release date 31.03.14]
Matt Stevens (Fierce & the Dead) releases his latest solo album which has been three years in the making and features a whole host of guest musicians. These include drummer Pat Mastelotto (King Crimson); bass guitarists Lorenzo Feliciati (Naked Truth) and Charlie Cawood (Knifeworld); keyboard player Jem Godfrey (Frost*) and violinist Chrissie Caulfield (Helicopter Quartet/Crippled Black Phoenix).
I have only just started to discover the wonderful music of Matt Stevens, first through the excellent latest album from the Fierce & the Dead and now this varied and enjoyable collection of eleven new instrumentals. What I love about this album is the sheer musical variety, be it the riff heavy ‘Oxymoron’ that fair pummels the listener into submission or the gentle acoustic refrain of ‘The Other Side’, that has a faint folk air about it.
‘The Ascent’ is all stop/start and key changes, fellow musicians will love this I am sure, and for the non-muso like me marvel at the soundscapes created. At times it almost sounds discordant and there are guitar solos flying in from all over the place.
Must mention ‘Coulrophobia’ sounding like some 1960′s sci-fi theme and featuring the vibe playing of Jon Hart – this is an album highlight for me.
Nothing short of an amazing musical journey and the question is why the heck isn’t Matt Stevens a more well known name? Here’s hoping this album gets him the exposure and success his music deserves. ****1/2
Review by Jason Ritchie
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