Martini Henry: End of the Beginning
Martini Henry are a trio hailing from Maryland, USA and released End of the Beginning in 2007. Curious that I just received this album to review since it is already three years old but it is better late than never. I had not heard of Martini Henry before now but am sure glad to have made my acquaintance with this CD. They play a brand of guitar driven acoustic rock that is definitely progressive in nature as well as having folk, psychedelic and avant-garde influences. What you will find here are plenty of tricky time signatures, complex rhythmic patterns and a sound that is both refreshing and quite innovative. This band does not really sound like anyone I have heard making End of the Beginning compelling from the first track to the last.
All three players are integral to the band's sound and none more so than Matt Graboski who contributes guitar and vocals. His guitar playing is impressive and he does a great job combining delicious acoustic passages with electric riffs making this music dynamically diverse. The band is able to incorporate delicate acoustic sounds with more intense passages making this album a sonically riveting experience. Special mention must also be made of Graboski's vocals as they are outstanding. He has a lyrical and melodic voice well suited for gentle musical passages but can increase the intensity when required demonstrating a versatility not often heard in progressive rock. Of course Graboski does not do it alone as he has help from the dynamic rhythm section of Garrett Henritz on drums and Ken Moore on bass.
Highlights include the title track where interesting acoustic rhythms and drum work combine with Graboski's emotional vocals and the folk inspired "Rising Darkness" featuring flavourful acoustic rhythms and excellent vocals giving off a hippy vibe which I really dig. Other notables include the complex "Stand Under the Water in the Crest Depth" where softer acoustic parts meld with more intense lead guitar lead and aggressive vocals and the sixteen minute "Airaid" where wild electric guitar effects and improvisational jamming is what you can expect. Graboski's voice reminds me of Cat Stevens which should be taken as a compliment.
Fans of acoustic based guitar music should get a lot of mileage out of End of the Beginning. Lets hope a new release will come sooner rather than later.
1. End of the Beginning
2. Drag of the Mask
3. Rising Darkness
4. The Beast On Hollins Street
5. Stand Under the Water in the Crest Depth
6. Legion of the Moose
7. God Out of the Machine
9. Mad Mardygan
10. March to Darkness
11. Gun Pointed at the Head of the Universe
Added: August 9th 2010
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's Official Site
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