Berani – “Cut And Taste” strikes an incredible balance of disparate elements

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EsZ – “Liquor & Emotions” – introspective and emotional

Hip-hop has been cranking out bangers and high energy anthems for decades, but the average genre historian is well aware that dark or emotional thoughts on a chill backdrop is not a foreign concept for the game. After all, profound moodiness feels rather natural for a culture that grew out of urban plight and the trauma of purposely disenfranchised people. It makes sense that at least some mellow tunes in the genre, reflect deep-thinking speculation, in what artist EsZ, describes as thoughts on “life, growth and fake friends” in his track “Liquor & Emotions”. The song is a drunk text

Quad – “Love” embellishes each track with his personal revelations

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Born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and currently a resident of Dallas, Texas, C.E.N’s natural proficiency over poetry allowed him to produce meaningful and profound lyrics. Although he initially took the initiative to become a music artist for fame and fortune, he later realized that all he desires as a musician is to be respected and valued for the art he brings to the table. His music is deep lyrically and spiritually. Can you tell us a bit about where you come from and how you got started? C.E.N.: I was born in Oklahoma City, OK, and was raised in a

Hitrocker – “Project One” – breathtaking sound design!

Hitrocker is a German based producer who creates mainly within the EDM subgenres of House, Electro and Deep House. His first album, entitled “Project One” was released at the end of July, while “Project Two” is also out now. When I clicked on the playlist of “Project One”, I was met with song titles that were merely numbers – such as “Project 1.1” or “Project One.Four”. This falsely led me to expect generically themed instrumentals, simply meant to rock the dancefloor. Wrong. Well not totally. They do rock the dancefloor. But they also do a whole lot more. These are

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The soul singer relives how he met his wife and started his family on a tender new song. Rashod Holmes is known for bringing romance to life with his evocative voice, but he has never told as personal a story as the one he tells with his latest single. ‘The One’ is a true life love story that acknowledges the struggles and triumphs that go into building a long-lasting relationship. “I found the one for me” Rashod sings. “She is the girl of my dreams.” While Rashod is convinced that he has found the perfect partner, there is much more

Billy Ray Rock – “Get The Funk”- hitting up all the classic tenets of funk

Washington State Singer-Bassist, Billy Ray Rock, plays more than 10 instruments and produces and performs every instrument you hear in his music. From Rock to R&B and Dance, Billy delivers them all. His single “Get The Funk”, simply adds another delicious flavor to his sonic menu. His unearthly bass chops, resonant vocal wobble and inner funk DNA is scorching hot, while it straddles the genre’s trademark grooves. Blaring horns and slapping drums accompanies the party-styled adlibs, as the track treads its momentum. If you’re looking the glossy high-tech dance-club funk perpetuated by bands like Chromeo, then this is not the

Elmo Karjalainen: ‘Age Of Heroes’ is full of diversity

Elmo Karjalainen is a ‘guitarist’s guitarist’ who revels in a self-penned musical hybrid shot through with intensity and precision. His latest album ‘Age Of Heroes’ is a big sounding album with enough twists and turns to make Karjalainen’s solos sound both dynamic and interesting. This album represents a milestone, for Elmo, who is considered one of the best rock guitarists in his native Finland. On this album he realized his dream of playing alongside side some of his own ‘heroes’.

“This album saw me realize a dream. I have always wanted to have people I consider influences appear on an album of mine,” says Karjalainen, continuing, “I dreamt of playing with Steve Vai or Yngwie Malmsteen, and on this album I saw that happen. I got Derek Sherinian (ex-Dream Theater, Yngwie Malmsteen keyboard player who also toured with Billy Idol, Kiss and Alice Cooper) to play a killer solo on one of the tracks. The second artist to feature was none other than Viking guitar maestro Mattias IA Eklundh of Freak Kitchen. He’s a guy who has truly influenced my playing. In addition to those two I got the extremely talented Janne and Emil to feature on one song, where we did a three guitar battle. ”

Elmo Karjalainen

Elmo Karjalainen

There are plenty of incendiary guitar breaks and harmony guitar parts, shredding and the like, but Elmo Karjalainen also demonstrates a lightness of touch which is almost playful at times. This aspect is offset by several complex moments that explore rock, pop, metal, blues and even classical influences as he cleverly balances the obtuse with the accessible.

‘How Can Less Be More’ is full of diversity, a wide range of solos and an array of tone colors. He glues together all the elements on ‘The Colour of Greed’, which he tops with an incredible shred and then joins keyboardist Derek Sherinian (ex-Dream Theater, Yngwie Malmsteen) as they trade instrumental virtuosity before slipping into some beautiful slow-burning guitar ambience  on ‘Chikken Noodul’.

The lyrical duality of ‘A Fertile Discussion’ is exulted by the subtle dynamic tension between Mattias IA Eklundh’s exemplary playing and Karjalainen’s fusion ensemble sensibilities, laced with multiple harmonies. The restless live feel of ‘A Meeting of the Gods ( And This Guy)” is evidenced by the way Janne Nieminen and Emil Pohjalainen (winners of Yngwie Malmsteen’s Guitar Gods competition), together with Elmo Karjalainen trade electrifying riffs as if it  was an adrenaline pumping rollercoaster ride.

This is an intense high octane collaborative track. And it’s this constant search for that one lick to match the others that gives the tune such a captivating appeal which is exemplified by the booming ‘call and response’ riffs.

Karjalainen saves one of his biggest impacts for ‘Falling for Falafels’ on a collision of understated power, song craft and intense guitar playing. The big crescendo before the outro is effectively a musical sleight of hand, as it suggests a succinct resolution to a bulldozer of an album, but magnificently, ‘Age Of Heroes’ has even more depth than that.

It’s a frequently multi-layered and surprisingly diverse album full of magisterial guitar lines that constantly draws Elmo Karjalainen into new musical avenues.

He’s at his tasteful and poignant best on the meandering twist and turns of ‘Three Days of Peace’ and the bluesy ‘Limiting Rationality’, while the upbeat fusion groove of ‘The Grassy Gnoll’ is an example of an artist following his own musical path. ‘Age Of Heroes’ reveals new nuances with repeated plays.

Elmo Karjalainen’s musical knowledge, breathless guitar playing and imaginative musical arrangements shape the musical vision of a genius shredder with a penchant for real songs. Elmo personally feels that this is his best album to date, and on the evidence showcased across the 15 tracks here, it would be hard to disagree.

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