Various - Warmth In The Wilderness Part II - A Tribute To Jason Becker

Year of Release: 2002
Label: Lion Music
Catalog Number: LMC 2225 2
Format: CD
Total Time: 119:39:00

I usually steer clear of tributes; this is a personal (perhaps unreasonable) prejudice. "Tribute album" to me says that here are a lot of bands who are not as good as the band they're paying homage to, but they'd like to be. The Warmth In The Wilderness series is different, however. Contained on these albums are a collection of songs from master artists, giving their respects to the courageous Jason Becker. Jason had his induction to the pantheon of guitar godliness at an early age, forming Cacophony with Marty Friedman and recording with several other artists. At nineteen, he was diagnosed with ALS, a degenerative disease with no currently known cure. Though the disease has progressively robbed him of the ability to play his beloved guitar, it has not taken his ability to compose and create music in other ways. Now thirty and still battling, he has continued to gift us through the years with his unique brand of progressive music.

Warmth In The Wilderness Vol II has, literally, a truckload of progressive stars contributing, many of them fellow Lion Music signees. There's a lot of material here, so make sure you have a packed lunch and comfy chair; also, given that there's so many different people with their fingers in this pie, it's an extremely diverse album musically.

Though it starts with a vocal song (the very King's-X-ish "Desert Island," a Cacophony cover recorded by Tommy Denander), much of the CD is instrumental. There are plenty of people contributing pure technical wankery written especially for this CD. Try Lars Eric Mattsson's "Colours," David Valdes' "Temple In The Cellar," Milan Polak's "Utopia," and J.K. Northrup's "I.M.N.U"; perhaps the hard and heavy Rusty Cooley number "Peace Of Mind" will take your fancy, or the beautifully syncopated "Frankenfingers" by Rick Brannon and Dean Lopes. If you'd rather [have] a slightly more laid-back brand of instrumentalism, flick to Steve Vai on "Feathers," Carlos Creator's "Dialogues At The Moon," Daniele Liverani's "Meteor," or Steve Booke's bacchanale "Life Afterlife." Also listen for Randy Coven's hustling jazz-metal fusion "Poem," Rypdal & Tekro's industrial technoprog number "Windcrystal," and Mario Parga's drifting neoclassical guitar solo "Hourglass."

The artists that chose to tackle Becker covers have definitely given them the treatment they deserve. Terry Syrek does the Arabic-influenced "Temple Of The Absurd" flawlessly, as does Stephen Ross on "Perpetual Burn." Max Arminchiardi plays "Serrana," which is a musical journey in itself ? a synthesised baroque beginning, leading into extremely technical solo guitars, which in turn lead into arpeggistic flamenco acoustics. Similarly "Images" ? played by Ray DeTone ? moves from baroque instruments playing Asian chord progressions, to a metal instrumental which alternates between soulful guitars and a metallic repetition of the opening chords. The metal-jive number "Party Favours," played by Keith LuBrant and Bernie Lambert, was one recorded by Jason on Al Howe's album High Gear. "Jewel," a Pink-Floyd-esqe Cacophony cover, is interpreted by Scott Hughes; "Speed Metal Symphony," another from Cacophony, is done here by Slav Simanic. The album's heavy-rock closer, "Lady Luck" played by Edge of Time, is a David Lee Roth cover which Jason also helped record.

The only low point to the album for me is the saccharine-sweet "The Brightest Star Of All," written by Marty Friedman and Melle Vasquez. It feels out of place on this album and, well, a bit too Disney-like for my tastes. That's ok ? freakishly talented keyboardist Mistheria makes up for it by taking a Disney song ("When You Wish Upon A Star") and making it very, very prog indeed.

I'm running out of room! Buy this album! It's for a good cause, and has bucketloads of talent and interesting material. Great stuff!

[This review originally appeared June 2003 at the ProgPower Online review site -ed.]

Disc One: Desert Island (Tommy Denander & Friends) (4:37) / Colors (Lars Eric Mattsson) (3:14) / Feathers (Steve Vai) (5:09) / Temple Of The Absurd (Terry Syrek) (6:00) / The Brightest Star Of All (M. Friedman & M. Vasquez) (4:09) / Temple In The Cellar (David Valdes) (4:22) / Poem (Randy Coven) (3:49) / Utopia (Milan Polak) (4:02) / Dialogues At The Moon (Carlos Creator) (5:09) / When You Wish Upon A Star (Jam) (Mistheria & Friends) (5:38) / I.M.N.U. (J.K. Northrup) (4:38) / Perpetual Burn (Stephen Ross) (3:37) / Life Afterlife (Steve Booke w/Magic Elf) (4:23) / Hourglass (Mario Parga) (8:28)

Disc Two: Meteor (Daniele Liverani) (4:18) / Windcrystal (Rypdal & Tekro) (4:11) / Speed Metal Symphony (Slav Simanic) (9:55) / Serrana (Max Arminchiardi) (3:04) / Images (Ray DeTone) (6:37) / Party Favors (K. LuBrant & B. Lambert) (3:27) / Frankenfingers (Rick Brannon & Dean Lopes) (5:23) / Jewel (Scott Hughes) (3:55) / Peace Of Mind Pt. 1 (Rusty Cooley) (4:46) / Angel Eyes (Chris Hattingh) (3:36) / The End Of The Beginning (Joseph A. Glean's Valediction) (5:33) / Warmth In The Wilderness (Joe Becker) (1:53)


Various - Warmth In The Wilderness - A Tribute To Jason Becker (2001)
Various - Warmth In The Wilderness II - A Tribute To Jason Becker (2003)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin VA

Added: January 31st 2005
Reviewer: Karyn Hamilton
Artist website:
Hits: 930
Language: english


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