Creating an ear grabbing proposal forged in the fires and technical styling of hard rock and heavy metal, Italian guitarist Albert Marshall has just released a debut solo album in the magnetic shape of Speakeasy. It is an eight track collection of instrumental adventures, though a couple also feature the guest vocals of Mark Boals (Y.J.Malmsteen, U.J.Roth, Ring of Fire), which highlight but do not boastfully self-congratulate the undoubted prowess of Marshall whilst making for one rather enjoyable adventure.
Picking up his first guitar aged 16 and self-teaching with Deep Purple records, Marshall subsequently embraced and explored the broader expanses and styles of metal and rock alongside flavours such as blues and funk. Graduating from the Modern Music Institute while already gaining experiences in various tribute and original music making bands he proceeded to become part of metallers Altair, playing on their Sleazy Rider Records released album Descending. Now the Padova hailing musician has ventured forth with his own solo work and first full-length with Speakeasy seeing bassist Simon Dredo (L.a.Rox, Alex De Rosso, Adam Bomb) and drummer Roberto Gualdi (Pfm, Vecchioni, Glenn Hughes) playing alongside.
Inspired by the styles and sounds of Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Paul Gilbert, and Jason Becker, Speakeasy immediately reveals its voice and Marshall’s magnetic prowess through opener Butler’s Revenge. From start to finish, his strings vibrate like suggestive vocal chords in ears and imagination. Alongside Dredo is no lightweight either, the pulsating resonance of his bass equally captivating and appetite ensnaring as Gualdi provides a manipulative frame for the pair to conjure upon.
The superb track sets the tone for the release in style, though each subsequent piece brings its own open individuality and technical dexterity with next up Badlands aligning an enticing hue of restraint to the same eager energy and charge of its predecessor whilst weaving its own picturesque landscape of melodic metal. Wiry grooves vine the darker muscular trespass of the track, their melodic tendrils intoxication within just as potent rhythmic shadows while its successor, Fallen Angel encases the senses in a web of heavy metal endeavour. The first of two tracks featuring Boals, it is a more unsurprising slice of heavy metal yet revels in the individual and united prowess of its creators if without catching fire in our imagination as the tracks around it.
Captivation and enjoyment is only reinforced through the melodic metal waltz of Re Marzapane and the alluring sonic lattice of Dreamlover, the former carrying a glaze to its grooves which is almost punk like against the track’s progressive nature while its successor creates a tapestry of sonic hinting rich with cosmopolitan suggestion and sophistication. Both tracks enthral without deviation before Tristam Fireland re-ignites the album’s heavy metal heart with Boals back involved.
The blues stroll of Ramshackle Blues had personal juices, which faltered a touch with its predecessor, flowing again, its enterprise bound saunter a rousing spark to body and spirit. The brief closing piece of Eclipse (White Horse) equally seduced; its melodic ballad mesmeric, descriptive, and thoroughly beguiling.
And that pretty much sums up Speakeasy and the craft of Albert Marshall, a release and ability which is pretty much spellbinding.
Speakeasy is out now via Red Cat Records across most stores.
Pete RingMaster 18/10/2018
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