Various - Beyond Inspiration - A Tribute To Uli Jon Roth

Year of Release: 2003
Label: Lion Music
Catalog Number: LMC 078
Format: CD
Total Time: 65:25:00

If there's one thing about tributes, it's this - they have to be done well. Really, really well. The fans of the original artist will have high expectations and, if the music is not treated with the highest respect, it will be cut to ribbons by the faithful; in most of the cases I've heard (with a few exceptions) a tribute will be hit and miss. Some tracks will be interpreted superbly, some will struggle. This tribute, to the onetime Scorpions guitarist and neoclassical legend Uli Jon Roth, is no exception.

Beyond Inspiration was organised by another neoclassical artist and a long-time fan of Roth's work, guitarist Lars Eric Mattsson, along with a horde of fellow Lion Music musicians, friends and other assorted collaborators. As mentioned, some of this disc is done with supreme style, other parts less so. On its own, it's a reasonable album, pretty enjoyable. Of course it is stylistically Roth, one of the rare neoclassical performers who has always been technically complex and yet unpretentious - not many in the genre manage to pull it off without wanking (that pun wasn't intended, but it's good so I'm leaving it in).

The album starts so-so, with "Electric Sun" played by Chris Steberl; but second in line, the Scorpions' "Sails Of Charon," played by Joop Wolters and sung by Lance King, is a fantastic song in its own right and beautifully interpreted here. Following it is another highlight, the smoochy "I'll Be Loving You Always," played by Lars Eric Mattsson, who is accompanied by the sweetly crooning Ella Grussner. Skip over "Firewind," not a real favourite even as a Roth song (uncomfortably preachy lyrics) and not done particularly well by Tony Hernando, to "Dark Lady" - rock 'n' roll, Rolf Munkes playing with Lance King again on vocals. Next is my personal favourite from this album, the lovely Scorpions number "Yellow Raven," Petrossi Dushan playing with Alf Wemmenlind superb as vocalist. "Burning Wheel Turning," "Still So Many Lives Away" and "I'll Be There" are all moderately lukewarm (Torben Enevoldsen, James Byrd and Cyril Achard respectively) but "Indian Dawn," Thorbjörn Englund playing and Lance King singing, is another worth listening for. "Pictured Life" wins the title of the album's most irritating track, because it's not interpreted well by Neal Grusky and I really like the original Scorpions version - skip. "Return" (instrumental, William Stravato and Alex Masi) and "Polar Nights" (Eric Sands, with Alf Wemmernlind on vocals) are both pretty good, and the album finishes in true Roth style with "Paganini Paraphrase" played by Paul Nelson (the only really wanky track, but anything by Paganini played on any instrument has definite wank value).

I've really got to leave this one up to the listener. I predict diehard Roth fans will find some good moments but may be annoyed by some of the tracks; in actual fact I think fans of the individual performers, rather than Roth himself, would get the most out of this. It's an acceptable disc, though not an essential one.

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

Electric Sun (Chris Steberl) (5:15) / Sails Of Charon (Joop Wolters) (4:40) / I'll Be Loving You Always (Lars Eric Mattsson) (5:06) / Firewind (Tony Hernando) (5:06) / Dark Lady (Rolf Munkes) (3:22) / Yellow Raven (Petrossi Dushan) (4:47) / Burning Wheel Turning (Torben Enevoldsen) (6:40) / Still So Many Lives Away (Byrd) (4:49) / I'll Be There (Cyril Achard) (4:44) / Indian Dawn (Thorbjorn Englund) (5:30) / Pictured Life (Neil Grusky) (3:06) / Return (Stavato/Masi) (4:16) / Polar Nights (Eric Sands) (5:40) / Paganini Paraphrase (Paul Nelson) (2:18)


Various - Beyond Inspiration - A Tribute To Uli Jon Roth (2003)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin VA

Added: January 31st 2005
Reviewer: Karyn Hamilton
Hits: 839
Language: english


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