Well 2006 has been quite a year, the last couple of months have seen the updates tail off due to a number of reasons, the biggest one of these has been the collapse of my marriage and subsequent issues surround this, if you any of you have been in this situation you will understand, if you have not then I hope you never will.
Anyhow, with 2007 just around the corner things are starting to look more rosy and BAROQUE & ROLL have great new updates lined up.
First of these will be an extensive look into the new Michael Harris album, "Orchestrate", out now on Lion Music. This album represents the pinnacle of neo-classical guitar in 2006 and a taster quote from our coming review should tell you a lot about this release...
A neo-classical delight and the Baroque & Roll.com album of 2006. Stunning compositions, sublime performances and an epic production. If you buy one neo-classical (neo-orchestral) album this year make it Michael Harris’s ‘Orchestrate’.
To tie in with this fantastic release we have an interview with Michael to discuss the album in detail from the composers perspective.
Also to be expected in 2007 are new interviews with James Byrd, Roger Staffelbach, George Bellas, Joe Stump and Chris Impellitteri all of whom are expected to release new albums. These of course will be featured and reviewed in depth here at BAROQUE & ROLL.
To end I leave you with the November 2006 Neo-Classical charts courtest of Guitar9.com
#1 DAVID VALDES / Paradise Lost
For an example of head-splittingly magnificent guitar playing from Spain, look no further than David Valdes. Each cut screams with fury and offers a primer of formidable guitar techniques.
#2 BORISLAV MITIC / Fantasy
Fantasy is guitarist Borislav Mitic's 1996 Yugoslavian release which eventually led to his signing with Shrapnel Records. Not as good as the self titled Shrapnel release which is foolishly out of print (as classy as ever Shrapnel!) but a nice introduction to Borislav's work.
#3 MARCO FERRIGNO / Hanging Gardens
Three years after his last release under the "Ferrigno, Leal, Kuprij" banner Marco is back with more neo-classical firepower and this, his debut solo album is a very intricately detailed release with a lot of fretwork but also a lot of melody. One of the most immediate comparisons to Marco's very fluid style of play is similar to that of George Bellas.
#4 ALEX MASI / In The Name Of Beethoven
Lovers of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach and the guitar should check out Italian guitarist Alex Masi's In The Name Of Bach. Forget enjoying Bach's pieces only on violin or keyboard, this CD is all guitar. Masi performs the majority of the 15 pieces on Manne Semiacoustica guitars (acoustic), but four of the pieces feature Masi blazing through prestos, toccatas and fugues on Rostrum electric guitars.
#5 KEVIN FERGUSON / Strad To Strat
Kevin Ferguson, a guitarist and composer from Oregon, offers up his debut CD, consisting of fiery classical music composed by violin virtuosi such as Paganini, Wieniawski and Sarasate.
#6 VITALIJ KUPRIJ / Forward & Beyond
This neo-classical work and shredfest features many great well known guitar players such as George Bellas, Michael Romeo, Michael Harris, Jeff Kollman, Javier Leal, Roger Staffelbach Borislav Mitic and Fransesco Fareri.
#7 JOSE DEL RIO / Journey Into The Fourth Dimension
Jose Del Rio's all-star neoclassical/progressive shred project is called Journey Into The Fourth Dimension, an incredibly intense shred release featuring guitarist Jose Del Rio and keyboard virtuoso Vitalij Kuprij (Artension). Fans of over-the-top intense shredding need to check out the 300 bpm version of "Flight of the Bumble-Bee".
#8 HESS / Opus 1
The CD features a new breed of high caliber instrumental guitar compositions combining the neo-classical styles of Yngwie Malmsteen and Jason Becker with the progressive rock styles of Dream Theater and George Bellas, along with the emotion of 19th century Romanticism.[check out our exclusive interview with Tom Hess]
#9 GEORGE BELLAS / Venomous Fingers
Blazing shred, wicked arpeggios and heavy neo-classicism mark the latest release from one of the fastest players around. Check out the Bellas 'butter' tone... mmm.
#10 MICHAEL ROMEO / The Dark Chapter
Romeo is an incredibly accomplished player drawing on a neo-classical style reminiscent of Yngwie Malmsteen while retaining his own identifiable signature that sets him apart from other players in this genre. He has received major coverage in many of the guitar magazines around the world and is best known for his role as lead guitarist in Symphony X.
All these albums can be ordered online at http://www.guitar9.com/topsellersmonthneoclassicalmetal.html