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Bellas, George : Venomous Fingers

Not everyone will be aware of the name, George Bellas, however, with a curriculum vitae that includes a veritable amount of work with industry heavyweights such as Ansley Dunbar, Phil Mogg and Pete Way from UFO, Vitalij Kuprij, Virgil Donati, while in "Ring Of Fire", together with Trent Gardiner and Tony Levin while recording Magellan's 2002 release, Hundred Year Flood, George sure has the runs on the board.

George's style of playing is very precise and has its origins from a very early age as he showed an obvious talent for the instrument after his father bought him his first guitar at the age of 7. With influences that include Bach, Beethoven, Debussey, List, Van Halen, Michael Schenker, Dream Theatre, Robin Trower, and others, his prodigious talents are extremely obvious.

Featuring an arsenal of guitars, bass and keyboards, George sets out to destroy your ears and lounge suite with a set of 15 songs that range from 35 seconds to just over 11 minutes. There are in fact 4 songs around the 40 second mark which er… don't allow much time for thematic development but that is more readily achieved with the more epic sounding songs that run the whole gamut of ideas.

Unquestionably George is very adept at his range of instruments and although his overall style follows the more predictable prog metal route with a battering of lead breaks and tunes that openly advertises his penchant for the more metallic side of music; his classical influences are only surface deep. His songs feature some blisteringly quick guitar and keyboards excursions that simply defy human physics and while there are sections where the drumming gets left slightly behind or just don't quite fit properly, most listeners may not detect anything out of place. Being a former drummer probably makes it easier to detect these minor short comings but in all fairness, the speed at which this music is played makes these observations seem almost irrelevant.

After his first signing with Schrapnel Records in 1996, together with his other engagements, for himself and for other musicians, George found his inevitable way to the Lion Music army where his work seems very much at home with his other label mates. Those familiar with the style of music managed by Lars Eric Mattsson and those under his wing will find much to enjoy here as there is plenty of the obligatory machine-gun drumming, which although I find a little too overdone and predictable these days, provides a solid platform from which George can tackle the guitar and keyboard duties which border on incendiary status all too often. While not possessing the same degree of variety or imagination in the song writing compared to Steve Vai or Joe Satriani, this still represents a worthwhile but not ground-shaking listen for prog-metal heads, wherever you are hiding.

Added: January 14th 2004
Reviewer: Greg Cummins
Related Link: George Bellas Web Site
Hits: 2921
Language: english

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