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Super Heavy Black Number: King Of System

There are many superbly talented guitarists out there in the instrumental market who seem unable to make the breakthrough that the likes of Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Vinnie Moore or Tony MacAlpine have and with King Of System from Super Heavy Black Number, it's easy to hear why. Guitarist Adam Valk is already a member of stoner acts, The Want and Eighteen Wheels Burning, but with SHBN he's teamed up with bassist J Baldo and drummer Johnny Dace and decided to take that stoner base, add a dose of the blues and let his guitar do the talking. Clearly this six string is fluent in many forms of communication, for it finds Valk in full flow throughout, riffs clicked expertly into place and muscular solo followed by roaming lead line. Baldo and Dace too offer exactly what is required, a solid base provided time and again for Valk to jump off into whatever direction his guitar takes him, while Baldo also proves adept on keyboards. However for all that the boxes are checked and requirements fulfilled, what King Of System lacks is the infectiously catchy guitar melody that vocal-less albums that take the more obvious routes need. There's nothing to hum along to, nothing to make you remember the songs after they've stopped spinning. It could be suggested I'm missing the point, for heavy bluesing stoner goodness doesn't need those things and that would be correct, if there was a barked, growled or crooned vocal melody to snag the attention. As it is, "Lead Foot" begins full of promise, as a groove the size of the Grand Canyon is carved out, while "Thee Lo Sue" pulls back into likeable acoustic mode and yet as with the thrumming "Electric Dreamtime", or slightly awkward introspection of "In Closing", which offers an unusual synth/flute lead line, while picking faults is a challenge, that doesn't avoid the overall feeling of being decidedly underwhelmed. Unfortunately it's a theme that each of the ten tracks presented here follows, cool ideas given room to breath, but little impetus to draw you back for more and ultimately even talent on the scale demonstrated here is swimming against the tide in those circumstances.

Track Listing
1. Lead Foot
2. Getaway
3. Thing Power
4. Looking Up from Underneath
5. Thee Lo Sue
6. Take a Mile
7. Third Rail
8. Electric Dreamtime
9. Mind Check
10. In Closing

Added: June 12th 2015
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Super heavy Black Number on CD Baby
Hits: 1486
Language: english

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