7music (Membran) [Release date 13.03.15]
From his opening shred on ‘21 is Only Half The Truth’, through several shifting rhythm patterns, an ever present melodic undertow and the gnawing riff conclusion of ‘Transition To Reality’, its obvious that German guitarist and composer Andreas Vockrodt is a blizzard of restless, energetic creativity, who channels all those elements into hard hitting instrumental rock
He’s essentially a one man show with occasional help from Stefan Muller and Roland Hrastinksi on bass parts. He has a wealth of ideas, knows the value of dynamics, shifting tempo changes and subtle tonal variety that evokes different moods and feels.
If there anything missing in his musical canvas, it’s obviously the art of the drummer to shape pieces and give the project a more organic, warmer feel. However, given we live in age when most bands would rather swap files than record as an entity, he’s probably right to feel he can record most of this album himself.
There some stinging buzz guitar on the relentlessly powerful ‘Greetings From Mr. Knowitall’, which is full double lines and dense, turbo charged riffs that recall early King Crimson.
He explores his melodic sensibility with an extra keyboard line on ‘March Of The Spider’, on a layered piece that again might have benefited from a real drummer.
As it is, Andreas derives his confidence from well structured, self penned and thoughtfully arranged instrumental rock, powered by plenty of riffs, as evidenced by the way he reaches for an additional level of intensity on ‘Pocketful of Jazz’.
He contrastingly allows the aptly titled ‘Riffology’ to breath through the judicious use of dynamics, subtle harmonics and a few angular riffs before a subtle attack that many metal guitarists could do well to emulate.
But as if to balance things out, he goes for the jugular on ‘Sergeant Tapper’s Amazing Box Of Lullabies’, with some Van Halen influenced chops that metal guitarists always feel the need to demonstrate.
He’s much more restrained and melodic on the very short but effective ‘Tappology’, but reverts to a relentless feel on ‘Sophisticated Dancer’, notable for tonal variety, keyboards and a tension breaking mid-section, before a faux sting driven resolution
‘Adventures In Foggyland’ works hard at being an instrumental concept album, as Andreas shares a musical vision musical full of stop and start guitar parts and changing moods that suggests shifting landscapes. There’s even a belated nod to Gary Moore on the bluesy guitar motif of ‘The Foggy Waltz’, before he reverts to a riff driven ending in keeping with his talents. ***½
Review by Pete Feenstra
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