Harris, Michael - Distorted Views

Year of Release: 1999
Label: IMF Records
Catalog Number: MH-2119
Format: CD
Total Time: 51:29:00

This is my first introduction to Michael Harris as an instrumental artist. I know he has several albums on his conscience, although I have never bothered to check him out. I remember his last two CDs getting rave reviews though. I liked most of the stuff he did with the Arch Rival band, but instrumental solo guitarists over the last years have honestly not appealed to me, as most of those CDs have been a long yawn. Most albums have focused more on shred than melody.

Fortunately, this CD is not your typical instrumental. Roughly speaking, this is progressive metal, but it offers so much more than just that. It takes the listener on a journey through various musical styles and expressions. There are songs with strong influences of jazz, jazz fusion, blues, melodic metal, progressive metal, with classical, flamenco, and acoustic guitars throughout. Thus, it's extremely varied. It's filled to the core with great chops and a killer rhythm section. Michael is beyond doubt a talented guitarist and a master all techniques. It's a delight to hear the variety from song to song, the progressiveness, and the songs which are full of melody and drama, rather than mindless shredding. The bass-lines are virtuous and really tasty, while the drumming is technical and varied. Prog metal fans should note that drummer Rob Stankiewicz of Haji's Kitchen fame is featured on this. The production is good, with all instruments present, yet with room for an overall improvement. Perhaps a richer/fuller guitar-tone would be preferable, but this is only me being picky.

This is a really good and entertaining CD which demands the listeners attention. And this stuff only gets better with time. Of the songs offered, only a couple of songs lack really good melody lines, but overall the quality of this product is utterly professional and consistent. I guess it's time to check out his previous releases, because I really enjoyed this one. Based on this release, Harris deserves to be credited as one of the leading guitarists of today. Recommended to all guitar-fans!

[This review originally appeared November 2002 at the ProgPower Online review site -ed.]

Chambre Noire / Transmigration Of Souls / Identity Crisis / Centurion / Questions / Axcalibur / Mozart's Ghost / Stun Gun / Blue Tokyo / Winterlude / The End Of Forever / Chambre Noire (Minor Relapse)

Michael Harris - eletric guitars, acoustic guitars, keyboards, bass
Derek Blakley - bass
Rob Stankiewicz - drums
Adam Nitti - bass
Mike Haid - drums
Erik Martinez - keyboards
Clint Barlow - drums
Matt Thompson - congas
Dawn Oyedipe - violin
James Martin - bass, acoustic bass
Jenni Ritter - cello

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-Power Metal

Origin US

Added: January 17th 2005
Reviewer: Bjørnar Bevolden
Artist website: www.michaelharrisguitar.com
Hits: 878
Language: english


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