Afterthoughts is one of those albums which needs numerous plays to explore its many diverse corners of sound as well as the thoughts and emotions it incites during its engagement. The release from rock guitarist Derek Buddemeyer unveils a little something more within its expanse of instrumental pieces with each encounter whilst lighting different imagery each time too and though it is not always as consistently successful, it is a rewarding and enjoyable engagement which is easy to return to and often.
Originally from Kansas City, Missouri, the musician moved to San Jose, California at an early age and found musical influences which included The Beach Boys, Hall & Oats, and Barbara Streisand. As a young teen, Buddemeyer then discovered the likes of Van Halen, Def Leppard, and Stryper, inspirations which led him to buying a guitar at 15. Another move this time to Southern California drew him to the sounds and skills of George Lynch, Steve Vai, Warrant, Scorpions, Skid Row, Metallica, Megadeth, Testament, Anthrax, and many more. Taken by the heavier and rawer sound, as well as the melodic imagination borne from such artists, he evolved his own blend of melodic hard rock with sinewy veins and pop metal warmth. Debut album Afterthoughts, which is released through the Jerry Dixon and Erik Turner of Warrant owned Down Boys Records, is the vibrant result of his inventive ideas and honed craft, a release which breathes with enterprise and rich and full sounds.
The album starts with a storm of a track in the mighty Wicked Little Sister. The track immediately fires up the heart with flesh grazing riffs, insatiable energy, and a melodic teasing which smoulders with skill and sonic manipulation. It is an adrenaline soaked piece which is unrelenting in its purpose and inspiring in the open invention driving its course. Amongst the ten tracks which make up the release there are a trio which stepped to the fore instantly upon first listen, the opener heading that impressive first thrill.
The album is a varied little pleasure which investigates and ventures into numerous premises and soundscapes of sound. From the metal rush of the first song the album strolls into the progressive and metal expression of Breathing In The New, the powerful guitar adventure an invigorating and expressive heat supported by electro showers of sound. Then the title track takes over, it another of the great pinnacles within Afterthoughts. It is a symphonic wrap with emotive keys and a brewing epic atmosphere which surges thoughts and senses through a striking escapade of melodic elegance and lush imagination. Whereas the previous songs were guitar driven this song is a delicious weave of keys and sonic beauty which leaves one basking full of content in a flush of strings and dramatic grace.
As the likes of the magnetic New Groove with its gentle and sunny coaxing of the ear, the classy and refined Morning After, and the fiery Lift Off with its burning temptations, reveal their creative and distinctly individual gaits, the album is a continuing captivation. Occasionally as with the brief presence of the last of these three songs, it feels like a track is written with the thought of soundtracking a cinematic moment so often depart without a defined climax but it only adds to the imagery incited during their usual dramatic breaths.
The third of the previously mentioned greatest heights attained by the release closes the album up. Sandstorms is an immense piece of writing which seduces the senses with its Eastern promise and intrigue setting imagination. Completed with coarse riffs and snarling guitar rubs shadowing the majestic melodic whispers, the track is an evocative delight.
For personal tastes and no other reason, there are moments on Afterthoughts which do not quite rise up to spark the same enthused ardour as at other times, like the mechanical rhythms and shallow electro drizzles in some places, but it is a minor niggle in the overall quality of the album and does not deter from offering the recommendation to check the album if you are looking thoughtful and inventive instrumental melodic rock.
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