Taking the listener on adventures rich in light yet darkly suggestive, Beautiful Nightmare is the new instrumental album from Albert Marshall. It is the successor to his acclaimed debut album Speakeasy, a release which declared the craft and composing of the Italian guitarist one compelling proposition but fair to say, with the new encounter in our ears, it was just the build to the fascinating and imaginative exploits of its successor.
It was aged 16 that Marshall first picked up the guitar, learning the instrument alone with Deep Purple records. Over time, the inspirations of musicians such as Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Paul Gilbert, and Jason Becker added to his learning and fuelled his own musical style which, apart from his time in metallers Altair, truly revealed its full fertility within 2018 released Speakeasy. His sound and enterprise has now blossomed even further within Beautiful Nightmare as too his dexterous craft, the album’s nine tracks tales of suggestion and sonic manipulation igniting ears and imagination alike.
We will be honest, the technical heart of the guitar and the varied aspects going to weave the sound and pieces it creates holds little interest; it is all about the picture woven and emotive impact inspired for us and Marshall creates enthralling adventures so easy to immerse within. Equally though, as the new release proves, his tracks feed the hunger for rousing rock ‘n’ roll and dextrous metal, embracing everything from hard and classic rock to melodic and heavy metal.
Beautiful Nightmare opens up with Black Rooster, a track which immediately descends on ears with rhythmic enticement wrapped in sonic tempting. In no time it becomes a fiery stroll, its gait and manner cocky but equally confident and humble in its striking manoeuvres. Marshall’s touch on guitar strings and pedals borders the mesmeric while the song leads body and neck muscles in the familiar reaction to prime rock ‘n’ roll.
The following At The Gates is a joyous piece, melodies and riffs united in a sonic smile and warm emotive swell; its presence celebratory before The Mogway Song shares its own refreshing and lively revelry. There was no escaping being swept up in the festivity of either captivating track, each bold and joyful in their spirit carousing skins.
The following Little Rainbow also has that essence of joy within its melancholic embrace of thought and senses, the piece written as “a special dedication to a girl who flew to heaven too soon.” The track is haunting yet comforting and as with most tracks, the emotion sculpted and shared is as potent as Marshall’s craft in creating the experience.
Through the contagious if slightly irritable animation of the outstanding Angry Monkey, there feels a slight shift in the climate of the album; darker shadows leaning in as the evocative radiance of Ice Cream and Charmander’s Nightmare with its muscular aggression and forceful virulence bear their individual themes and tales. The second of the two just about takes favourite track honours from its attention gripping companions though both Ugly Motherfucker with its confrontational blues hued swagger and the quarrelsome almost sabre-rattling Armored Warfare stake mighty claims as the release comes to a powerful and enthralling end.
Another great trait of the album is that no track labours the point of Marshall’s skills, though they cannot help but glow and impress throughout, but tell the tale and inspire the imagination; the kind of instrumental we devour and boy did we feast upon Beautiful Nightmare.
Beautiful Nightmare is out now via Red Cat Records; available across most stores.
Pete RingMaster 22/05/2021
Copyright RingMaster Review