MARCO MENDOZA – CASA MENDOZA (REVIEW)

Out now on Mascot Records

Marco Mendoza, bass player to the stars, has found the time to produce his second solo album “Casa Mendoza”.  It’s an eclectic mix of funk, rock, fusion, latin etc garnished with lots of shreddy guitar and keyboard solos.

Opening track “Living In The City”, a Stevie Wonder tune, wouldn’t be out of place on an older Chili Peppers album. It all just gets funkier along the way… Ballad “You” could be rather nice but then they go all Carlos on us.

If you know Mendoza from his work with Whitesnake, Ted Nugent or Thin Lizzy, you’d probably better give this album a listen before buying. Rock is not the main ingredient in Marco’s mix.
This album reminds me of a mix of Glenn Hughes’ more adventurous funk material with Santana. But less accessible.

A difficult album to rate. As a rock album, it scores about 20. From another viewpoint you could rate it anything up to 80. Which leaves an average score of …

Rating – 50%
Review by Sancho.

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CHARLY SAHONA – NAKED THOUGHTS FROM A SILENT CHAOS (ARCHIVE)

Released Feb 2010 on Lion Music

Dedicated followers of Virtuosity One may well be familiar with the name Charly Sahona from his work in progressive metallers Venturia who have released 2 excellent albums to date.  However, the French guitarist has seen fit to use songs not geared towards the Venturia sound for a debut solo album “Naked Thoughts From A Silent Chaos” which is a much more streamlined album built around heavy riffs with catchy vocals and Sahona’s trademark solos with the press promo sheet describing this is a fusion of Dream Theater, Muse and 30 Seconds To Mars.  Certainly the musicianship and heaviness of DT is here with the melodies taking on the more modernistic feel of Muse.  Fans of either band should be able to latch on this rather easily, yet at the same time it has its own sound going on.

Sonically the album sounds great with a production that puts many big names to shame with the rhythm section of Sahona’s Venturia band mates Diego Rapacchietti (Drums) and Thomas James-Potrel (Bass) powering the whole 8 track album along with exuberant ease and skill.  Sahona’s guitar is as excellent as anyone who has heard Venturia knows yet here where it’s the main focus you really see that Charly’s style is taking metal guitar to new places.

Highlights come in practically every song from opener and debut single “Relieved”, the stomping “Away From Our Sins” which is full of catchy vocal melodies, “Forgotten Past” is closest in style to the sound heard of Venturia’s “Hybrid” album.  “River Of Lies” is the most straight metal tinged track on the album.  “Living In A Dream Is Not Right” is relatively laid back in comparison to other tracks and allows Sahona to show his vocal skill, something which it could be argued is mixed a little low in places, this could maybe be put down to debut vocal release nerves, however, Sahona has a good voice, melodic, clean and likely to win appeal with the modern day listener so next time push the fader up a little Charly!  “It Will Fly Away” has more commercial possibilities and those that like Muse but would like that heavier may just find their perfect match here.    Closer “All That Can Be Said” sees the album out on another strong note.

With “Naked Thoughts From A Silent Chaos” Charly Sahona has delivered a mightily impressive debut album.  If your penchant for metal is to avoid clichés then this could be right up your street.  Essentially with performances this good, a production this strong and song quality excellent from start to finish then you have to ask the question what’s not to like?
 
Hot Spots : Relieved, Away From Our Sins, It Will Fly Away.
Rating : 95%

KIKO LOUREIRO – FULL BLAST (ARCHIVE REVIEW)

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%