Out Now – Mascot Records

“Full Blast” is the third solo album from the Angra guitarist after the mixed bags of “No Gravity” and “Universo Inverso”.  I am pleased to report however that the new album is his most coherent and accessible to date, whereas the other two I felt were more about guitar chops; “Full Blast” demonstrates a stronger more structured approach and its pays dividends as a result.

Backed up by instrumental guitar favourite drummer, the ever impressive Mike Terrana, Kiko along with bassist Felipe Andreoli deliver strong driving tunes in the likes of opener “Headstrong” and “Se Entrega Corisco”.  There is a native Brazilian feel of “Desperado” and acoustic timbres of “Mundo Verde” whilst heavy prog tinges crop up in “Cutting Edge”.  The more melodic moments are catered for well with the soulful “Excuse Me”, “The Clairvoyance”, “Whispering” and “Pura Vida” and these represent the best tracks on the album. Some tracks aren’t as strong however with the likes of the experimental metal chug of “Corrosive Voices” being one to skip, yet I can’t help but feel the melodic numbers are the ones worthy of return visits as the others tend to merge into one standard instrumental routines.  One cannot call into question Kiko’s technique which is superb but his tone is quite processed and lacks some warmth in places – a minor quibble.

Overall “Full Blast” is as mentioned the best solo work to date I have heard from Kiko. Whilst its by no means the best instrumental of the year it is an enjoyable enough slice of guitar, well played, well produced yet missing the final killer touches to make it a must own release.

Rating – 80%