Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Jimmy Ryan – 21st Century Riffology (CD)

Remember the days of shredders and instrumental guitar albums? Shrapnel Records? Back when Yngwie Malmsteen still could record an album that actually sounded good (and long before he thought he could sing). I was a huge fan of that genre and I had them all. Well, as time went by, I kinda lost interest as a lot of the albums were more about the actually shredding ability (aka guitar wanking) that about the song. Then came the drum machine/programmed drums and any natural feel in the song was just lost. Well, in later years there has popped up an instrumental album or two, that has caught my attention. Grooveyard Records and Shredguy Records are two labels that have released some really interesting stuff in that category. In my hand I have the solo release by Jimmy Ryan of The Flying Ryan Brothers, who have put out some great instrumental stuff. After a first listen, I do have to admit that Jimmy’s solo album is even more up my alley. 21 songs in 50 minutes may sound like a classic hardcore or punk album, but of course it’s not. What is good about it is that there are no songs where there are dragged out solo sections that go on forever without leading anywhere. These are actual songs, with melodies and structures. Short melodic movies. Even though the riff is in center throughout the album, the style ranges from softer, melodic songs, such as “Ad Astra”, “Stardust” and finisher “Zenology”, through straight ahead rock ‘n blues such as “Slipstream” to drop-D riff rockers that really groove. The eight heavy hitters in a row: “Thor’s Hammer”, “Stompbox”, “Mazerunner”, “Hammerhead”, “Untamed”, “Superchunk”, “Piledriver” and “X Factor” are prime examples of songs that are in a similar vein, yet quite different. I really love Jimmy’s melodic feel, the bluesy touch and his strong, determined tone. He really plays it like he means it. An excellent album, indeed!
Janne Stark
Label: Grooveyard Records
Country: USA
Year: 2017

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