Kelly Valleau returns with another collection of covers and originals, this time on steel-string acoustic.
While the arrangements of two Metallica ballads and Beethoven’s 5th are ambitious and impressive, it’s actually the originals that caught my attention. Especially “Anubis”, with its dark flamenco moods and tight, propulsive groove.
In general, I like how Kelly infuses some dark exotic undertones throughout his music. Even “Bella” a lovely tune with a soulful, laid-back groove has a small flamenco-influenced breakdown before returning to the chorus.
If I’m being perfectly honest, album-opener “Chtulhu” threw me off a bit. While I have nothing against drums, it seemed odd as a choice for first songs, since the rest of the album is strictly solo guitar. Maybe it would have worked better later on.
And that is the one problem I have with this album, it seems a bit disjointed. While the covers and the originals are both great, it didn’t flow well for me. then again, it’s called Vol. 2, so maybe it’s just meant as a collection of songs and I’m being overly analytical. But I’m a very album-oriented person, can’t help it!
Speaking of the covers, these are really great. I wasn’t sure what to expect with Beethoven’s 5th, but Kelly pulls it off with astounding technique. It’s interesting to note how different a piece like that sounds on acoustic guitar vs. a symphony orchestra.
The Metallica covers are also equally impressive – Kelly goes as far as to play Kirk Hammet’s solos…my only complaint is that on Fade to Black the recording fades out right when it seems to get cooking! Oh well…
While as an album I felt it to be a bit disjointed, this is still a great set of songs that show off Kelly Valleau as a gifted and very versatile guitarist.