Normally I don't like instrumental albums, mostly because when it comes to music I follow singers. I need a passionate or 'blood curdling' voice to get me interested. For me a guitarist should be the complement to the vocalist. It must have been fate that while I was making my weekly visit to Music Outlet in Enfield, CT, Gary was playing some music that made me stop and take notice.
As the music entered my ears and went straight to my soul I asked Gary who this was. His reply was Michael Abdow and his latest release, E.S.O!
After buying the disc and popping it into the car cd player I was taken on a musical journey of truly epic proportions. The first track, Apple In The Sky is a 13 minute ride that is very King Crimson in its make-up as it dances in and out of styles and moods. Abdow's guitar playing is absolutely brilliant! On this particular song (and most of the album) he plays with the controlled fury of Michael Schenker, the heavy riffing of Tom Morello and then makes you all sad inside as he channels a little Gary Moore and Steve Rothery from Marillion.
Musically the album is a collection of nine songs that I guarantee will touch you. If you like your free style jazz interrupted with heavy riffing and thunderous drums and then an insane solo or two you will love Children Of Greater Men. If you want some talkative piano, Sally is just what you need. This album is a perfect Fall release, because it just feels right listening to it on a nice crisp day.
Not just an incredible guitarist, Michael is also as good a keyboardist and bassist. Joining him is drummer Mike Lamagna who not only keep s the pace, but keeps up.
This is easily one of my favorite releases of 2017! It's progressive, emotional and a bit edgy when it needs to be. Granted I still love my music with a vocal attached, but as I listen to E.S.O. again and again... I feel that a voice would just get in the way.
Matman Rating - 5 out of 5 dancing guitars!
The Power Chords Podcast is a twice-monthly podcast celebrating rock and metal music of the '70s, '80s, '90s and beyond. The show is co-hosted by Matt Herring and Brian LeTendre.