With all of the instrumental guitar albums coming out these days, it's really refreshing to hear one that's not a non-stop shred fest, and one that actually has a good amount of melody to go along with tasty chops. This CD by New Jersey musician Neil Rambaldi was a real surprise, as it includes some hot playing, but more importantly eleven memorable songs. While many young axe-heroes emulate Malmsteen, Van Halen, Satriani, Vai, or any of the other countless guitar heroes, Rambaldi uses his influences tastefully and creates a rich and full sound that should appeal to more than guitar players.
There is much variety to be heard on Perpetual Horizon, like the Dream Theater prog-metal stomp of "Edge", or the delicate flamenco jazz of "It's Time." Rambaldi's style is very lyrical, at times like a combination of Joe Satriani and John Petrucci, but he never shred's for shred's sake. "Against the Grain" is a perfect example of this, where the guitarist lays down some flashy yet memorable melody lines, but never loses sight of the song. Considering that he basically plays all the instruments, the sound is very full, with keyboards fleshing out the mix when needed. On "Personalities" the guitarist lets loose possibly his best extended solo on the CD, using wah-wah and sweep picking to a highly dramatic effect. Perhaps the strongest cut though is the majestic anthem "Speechless", which contains a driving rhythm, ripping lead break, and a real emotional tone.
Neil Rambaldi would be a real asset to any hard rock or metal band. His songwriting skills and musical abilities are top-notch, and even if he chooses to stick with the instrumental format I'm sure labels like Lion Music or even Shrapnel will scoop him up eventually. Very promising release, and highly recommended.