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Olsen, Jarle H. : Quadrasonic

The phrase "instrumental quartet", when linked to the words "guitar shredder" are as often as not enough to make me and many others run for the hills. However with this debut album from Norwegian guitarist Jarle H. Olsen and his trio of helpers (Alex Argento - keys, Rodrigo Garcia - bass and Bjarte K. Helland - drums), it is also a timely reminder that when this sort of thing is done well, it really can be quite impressive. More based around atmospheric, if bombastic themes, Quadrasonic is basically a vocal-less Prog Metal album with a few dashes of Fusion thrown in. Yes the space that the vocals would have filled is taken up by fret trickery, drum flurries and keyboard wizardry, however in truth that leaves things not very far removed from almost any other album in this genre anyway. So we are talking John Petrucci, or Jeff Loomis territory, although any fan of Dream Theater or Symphony X will find more than enough to enjoy here as well.

Melody is pleasingly and surprisingly often the order of the day and while the riffs are huge and the solos blistering, the song is still, for the large part, king here. Crucially the production, courtesy of Olsen and Ronny Heimdal, is absolutely spot-on the money, leaving the album crystal clear and uncluttered. This allows all of the instruments to shine and while there's no doubt that the guitar is the star, Argento's keyboards are allowed the space to add the colour and breadth this album requires to truly impress.

Originality isn't exactly high on the agenda, Dream Theater, Vanden Plas, Symphony X and Threshold all readily spring to mind, but the songs themselves are strong enough to stand up to the comparisons. Add to that the great support play from the other musicians involved and the undoubtedly skilled and at times dazzling display from Jarle H. Olsen himself and you are left with an album that will appeal to any fan of Prog Metal, or virtuoso guitar playing.

Track Listing
1. Exordium
2. Pro-10
3. Dark Matter
4. Enigmatic Mind
5. From Deep Within
6. Event Horizon
7. Chimerical Moments
8. Osiris - 1. The Omnipotence
9. Osiris - 2. Reawakening
10. Osiris - 3. Journey To Duat

Added: April 14th 2012
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Jarle H. Olsen Online
Hits: 2908
Language: english

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