ARZ - Serai

Year of Release: 2005
Label: ARZmusic
Catalog Number: ARZ001
Format: CD
Total Time: 54:19:00

Arz is a one-man progressive instrumental project assembled by classically-trained music teacher Steve Adams. And as a guitar virtuoso, comparisons with Satriani are inevitable. Adams only channels Satriani on 3 or 4 tracks, though, and the signature sound on this all-instrumental guitar-led album is acoustic guitar played over a crunchy rhythm and riff section, interspersed with long lead guitar solos that tend - more often than not - to employ an essentially similar voice and style. For other less-known comparisons, you might be familiar with Hugo Flores of Sonic Pulsar, or particularly, with Colorado guitarist Charles Brown. Adams doesn't use the guitar synth in the way Brown does, but he does bring a Korg keyboard synth into the mix which lends a similar sound.

Serai's 11-songs in 55-minutes are a good showcase for Adams's musicianship - rich in melody with involved song structures and good layering, and with enough song-to-song variety to keep it interesting

"Stomp" is the most unconventional track on the record, and although it really has nothing to do with progressive or rock music, it's a lot of fun and probably the standout track on the record. Imagine an Irish ditty played not on fiddles but on an acoustic guitar, with loud castanets and a stomping bass keeping rhythm. You can almost imagine a troupe of Riverdancers hopping around the stage to this one. "The Strange Experiment of Dr. Trent" is a 12-minute mini-epic that runs through a series of melodic changes, although the tempo remains consistent throughout with long, slow solos played over rather busy, heavily reverbed accompaniment. "Fortress Siege" probably shows the most variety within a single song, yet the overall timbre remains consistent with the majority of the songs on the record. "Dandelion Wine," on the other hand, is a very elegant acoustic guitar only piece that again shows Adams's versatility. "Serai," the title track, is another standout - with two elegant acoustic guitars played over crunchy riffs and an occasional lead motif.

It isn't perfect - a few songs are guilty of that "samey" quality which plagues most one-man acts, and as always, the programmed percussion can be distracting at times - but it's nonetheless a very pleasing listen, and one I intend to spin for my own listening pleasure - and not just for review - and in my book, that is high praise.

Jjinn / The Strange Experiment Of Dr. Trent / Spindlshank / Serai / Trance / Crimson Passage / Dandelion Wine / Fortress/Siege / Hexen / Stomp / Clovus

Steve Adams - guitars, keyboards, electronic percussion

Serai (2005)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: March 5th 2006
Reviewer: Duncan N Glenday
Artist website:
Hits: 1106
Language: english


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