VICTOR SMOLSKI - Guitar Force
Album: Guitar Force
Genre: Instrumental Power / Progmetal
Release Date: February 3rd, 2023
Label: Massacre Records
Band Links: WEBSITE / INSTAGRAM / FACEBOOK
30 years after his first record and having revealed an impressive discography since then, multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer VICTOR SMOLSKI shares his new solo album on February 3rd, 2023 via Massacre Records, which got the name “Guitar Force”. By presenting 10 instrumental tracks - partly new, partly different versions of Almanac and Rage songs - and also bringing in his love for classical music with three pieces by Johann Sebastian Bach, it can be considered as a kind of "best-of", but with the music getting some new interpretation.
The title track sets the right mood for the rest of the album, showing an experienced, skilled musician with great joy in his playing and compositions. A groovy bass line, a chunky riff and playful drumming take us on the "Guitar Force" highway, which quickly evolves into a wonderful trip though the diversity of guitar music, from heavy rocking over mesmerizing virtuosic to funky, even joined by some flamenco vibes.
"Bought and Sold", "Self-Blinded Eyes" and "Satisfied" are the Almanac songs that got a new dress. Even though I'm a huge fan of great vocals (which they have without question on the original versions), I don't miss them here when the guitar takes over the melody, and the full-sounding production delivers some extra power to the tracks.
A good self-confidence is needed to offer a 16-minutes opus, even more without vocals, but with “World of Inspiration”, the guitar wizard takes us on an amazing, musical journey. After having started in the veins of symphonic powermetal, he's wandering through different styles, melting them fluidly and effortlessly. One can discuss whether the baby babbling in the middle section was needed, but the rest is a great listen, and also could be used as a film score.
The tracks 7-9 are modern variations of Bach pieces that work well for me, especially as there are many guest musicians on board that contribute their wonderful part to the full, natural (and not computer-generated) sound. With "Unity", the maestro lifts up tempo for the great finale, that comes along with interesting changes in mood and rhythmic, as well as some more guitar wizardy (one for the prog-lovers around these parts ;-)
To sum it up, VICTOR SMOLSKI offers an amazing album for fans of instrumental prog / powermetal, with "Guitar Force", "World of Inspiration" and "Unity" being my favorites here. Thanks to the wonderful melody lines and film score-like orchestral parts, the songs were accessible at the beginning, but still manage to hold my attention because of the creativity in the compositions, revealing more and more beautiful details. Production and performance are absolutely skillful and professional, and together with his joyful playing, "Guitar Force" got plenty for your listening pleasure if you're into guitar-driven, instrumental music.
Written by Katha
Victor Smolski - Guitars, Piano, Keyboards, Cello, Sitar
Tim Rashid (Almanac): Bass on track 1-3
Peter "Peavy" Wagner (Rage): Bass on track 10
Armin Alic - Bass on track 3 & 5
Jürgen Knautz - Bass on track 7 & 9
Frank Itt - Bass on track 8
Kevin Knott - Drums on track 1 & 2
Michael Kolar (Horseman) - Drums on track 3 & 5
Dirk Zimmermann - Drums on track 9
Enric Garcia - Piano on track 3 & 5
Marcus Deml (The Blue Poets) - Guitar on track 8
Inspector Symphony Orchestra - track 1-9
Ensemble Virtuoso - track 1-9
Orquestra Barcelona Filharmonia - track 1-9
Vincent Smolski - Keys & guitar on track 1 & 3, voice sample on track 3
1. Guitar Force
2. Bought And Sold (Instrumental Version)
3. World Of Inspiration
5. Self-Blinded Eyes (Instrumental Version)
6. Satisfied (Instrumental Version)
7. Chapter 3 (Concert For Violin & Oboe With Orchestra)
8. Bourree (Suite 2)
9. Menuet (Suite 2)