Harris, Michael - Sketches From The Thought Chamber

Year of Release: 2001
Label: IMF
Catalog Number: IMF 2278
Format: CD
Total Time: 52:11:00

There has got to be something weird in the water in Texas. Not only does one of my favorite all-time guitarists, Ron Jarzombek, hail from there, but it also seems that my attention is brought to a new brilliant musical inhabitant of the Lone Star State every five seconds. The latest in this series of joyful discoveries is Michael Harris, as his fourth solo album, Sketches From The Thought Chamber, hit the Progfreaks.com mailbox just a few days ago [when/where this was originally published -ed]. And just when I thought "oh great, another progressive rock album with a wizard on the cover, just what I need," the curious notes that playfully move around the beginning of "Prognosis" caught my attention. Soon afterwards, all hell broke loose.

And what a glorious ... forget it, I nearly got myself excommunicated there. The point is, once all hell breaks loose, it results in it being impossible to let go of Harris' excellent guitar work for the entire duration of the album. With his mind set on writing songs, and not on putting down a couple of boring chord progressions in order to back some mindless shredding, the guitarist takes the listener through ripping grooves ("Regroovination"), soundtrack-like pieces that slowly build up and reach majestic proportions ("Voyage To Xyrethius"), introspective sadness ("A Soul's Torment), and guitar fun ("Madfingers") in a variety that nevertheless sounds like a monolithic concrete slab headed right in the listener's direction.

One word of warning though. The slab's going to hit hard. Very hard. Whether it is Harris' brother Brian or Mike Haid (and let's not forget Matt Thompson!) who's providing the spine for the work contained herein, and whether it's Adam Nitti or Harris himself who's providing the bass tracks, the instruments coalesce so solidly that it would simply be impossible to fathom better arrangements or ideas to place on the record. It can be the impressive orchestration of "IdeoSymphony" or simply the perfect comprehension on behalf of every member of what makes instrumental metal so endearing, but it's all the same, because the result is loud and clear. It's heavy, it's progressive, and it rocks. What more do you need?

Similar artists: Ron Jarzombek, Derek Sherinian, Steve Vai

Prognosis (8:03) / Neuro-Transmitter (5:17 / Regroovination (5:11) / Two Worlds Beyond (6:27) / Shibboleth (3:48) / Voyage To Xyrethius (6:52) / Ideo Symphony (4:22) / Madfingers (2:04) / Eat Your Words (4:01) / A Soul's Torment (5:43)

Michael Harris - guitars, e-bow, synthetic percussion, bass, keyboards, production
Adam Nitti - bass
Mike Haid - drums


Brian Harris - drums
Matt Thompson - drums

Defense Mechanizms (1991/1999)
Ego Decimation Profile (1996)
Distorted Views (1999)
Sketches From The Thought Chamber (2001)
Hurricane X (2003)
Words Collide (2003)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: November 1st 2002
Reviewer: Marcelo Silveyra
Artist website: www.michaelharrisguitar.com
Hits: 839
Language: english


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