Here we have an album that brings back fond memories of Joe Satriani's Flying in a Blue Dream. Which isn't to suggest that Edward Box is merely a Satriani imitator. Actually, Box has been around for a decade or so, forming a progressive technical metal group called XLR8R, performing concerts with metal cult band Thunder before going off on his own. Present day Edward Box sees the guitar maestro releasing Plectrumhead, an instrumental CD that does remind me of Satriani, Steve Vai and perhaps even a touch of Ritchie Blackmore here and there.
The title track is where the Blackmore influence is particularly apparent, with its neat riffs and Middle Eastern vibe, even calling to mind vintage Michael Schenker. "Closer" has a chunky Steve Vai like lead, with a nice mid tempo groove. "Stratosphere" contains thick guitar tones, with a highly melodic solo that is at once punchy and poignant. But my favorite track is possibly "Five Knuckle Shuffle", with its great groovy mid-tempo combined with a tasteful arrangement including wah pedals. "Bone Cutter" lives up to its title. It closes the CD and is another fine rocker, in which the main riff sounds very much like an outtake from the very first Stone Temple Pilots album. Then the piece turns on that Middle Eastern theme that initially began the CD. A great way to end a very rewarding album.
The best compliment I can pay to Edward Box is that he made me remember how beautiful the electric guitar can sound in ways that Satriani, Vai and Eric Johnson could. The compositions never let technical flash disrupt the flow of the songs, in itself a difficult thing for other like minded guitarists to do. The Guitar God is thankfully alive and very well, courtesy of Edward Box.