Solar Flare review by Phi Yaan-Zek

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  • Released: Jul 18, 2005
  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 10 Gem
  • Users' score: 9.5 (4 votes)
Phi Yaan-Zek: Solar Flare
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Sound — 10
This is UK guitarist Phi Yaan-Zek's third CD which he created over 3 years on a Welsh mountain top! It's a rock guitar fusion instrumental CD with a big difference. The quality of the song writing just sets it in another league than all the other Satriani, Vai wanna-bes. In fact, Yaan-Zek's compositional skills are more reminiscent of Zappa, with some a touch of '70s prog rock. What Yaan-Zek has done is inject massive amounts of creative energy and compositional skill into what can be a tiresome genre of music and basically give us what is more like an adventurous guitar soundtrack, full of twists and turns, mood shifts, spellbinding virtuosity, humour and mystery. As such you'll find fast polyrhythmic drum and bass, mixed with prog metal riffs, jazz funk grooves, exotic melodies, cinematic soundscapes, latin beats, screaming guitar leads and delicate ballads. Its like Yaan-Zek has found a way to distill the very best essences of many styles of music and fuse them together into his own rich musical world. Yaan-Zek has assembled a fantastic cast of musicians to help him implement his daring musical vision. These include Paul Gilbert's amazing drummer Marco Minnemann and Swedish keyboard virtuoso Lale Larson, who's played with Shawn Lane among others. Yaan-Zek's own guitar playing brings to mind elements of Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Jeff Beck with some of the hypertechnique of Shawn Lane. Even though he plays up a storm on the guitar he never gets overindulgent and shows his maturity by putting the quality of the music first.

Overall Impression — 10
This CD will definately appeal to fans of Joe Satriani, Frank Zappa, Jeff Beck and Steve Vai. For me it represents a fresh new step in rock guitar instrumental music and is an essential purchase.

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