Out now on Lion Music
For the uninitiated Michigan native Sean Baker is a guitarist whom anyone into the glory shred days as performed by the likes of Racer X will get an immediate kick out of. Picked up by Lion Music after a independently self released debut, Baker’s Dozen as the name implies sees lead guitarist Sean Baker and his band deliver 13 slices of intense guitar instrumentals.
Now before many of you stop reading right here believing this to be a purely notes per minute exercise, hang on; for that conclusion is further from the truth than you might imagine. Just one listen to the album shows that Sean Baker knows an instrumental chock full of his virtuoso lead work is nothing without solid backings. Much like label mate Joe Stump, Baker has delivered a highly listenable and enjoyable album which a number of twists and turns but with the metal factor on an almighty 11 pretty much throughout. Yes there are brutal displays of guitar virtuosity, but there is also a plethora of pummelling riffs that run from 80’s Shrapnel heyday through to intense workouts on a par with the likes of Pantera. Without the lead guitar this album will please many a metal head thanks to its sheer musicality, yet with the lead work it goes to then next level. For the icing on the cake throw in a sprinkling of guest performers in the guise of the aforementioned Joe Stump, Rusty Cooley and former Racer X guitarist Bruce Bouillet. Up against these big hitters Baker shows himself to be their equal and hopefully the exposure that Lion can bring will see the Baker profile rise as he is a talent and then some.
Special mention should also go to the Orchestra – namely Cmak Ashtiani (guitars), Lawrence Wilson (drums) and David Donigian (bass) who provide a wonderful backdrop for Sean to do his stuff over. The production of the album is serviceable, quite raw and natural sounding for the drums (no worry of drum samples here) with an open quality that manages to avoid much of the sterile nature of so many guitar hero albums. So in conclusion, a lot to enjoy, very little to dislike and one for guitar heads to check out asap.
Rating – 85%