CHRIS BICKLEY - DIGITAL REFLECTION (*NEW-CD, 2017, Shred Guy Records) AOR/Hard Rock Axeman-guitar virtuoso!
This is US guitarist Chris Bickley’s second effort (it should be noted he also plays with the resurrected 70s American rockers Thunderhead). His first album, Tapestry Of Souls, was a good start, but on Digital Reflection he has definitely perfected his crafts. The album has a better flow, stronger song material and definitely a way better mix. Yes, this is a (mainly) instrumental guitar album, but Chris does write really good songs where the guitar handles the “vocals”, so not only a lot of shredding, but actual melodies. Chris is backed by bassist Dino Fiorenza and drummer Gaetano Nicolosi, both great musicians who provide a solid foundation for Chris guitar playing. Dino also does some pretty impressive slapping here and there. Furthermore, Jimmy Pitts fills out the cracks and crevices with some nice keyboards. The album also features some other guest guitarists, such as Adrian English and Mike Abdow. The songs range from mid/up-tempo rockers to soft and nice ballads such as Arigato and one of the two vocal tracks, Tragedy (sung by Steve Johnstad). The other vocal track is a surprising cover of Iron Maiden’s Wasted Years, sung by Teri Lane. She does a good job, even though I would have wished for a bit more edge and a little less vibrato. It’s a good track, but I honestly don’t think it fits that well into the rest of the material. If Chris would’ve made an instrumental version it would maybe have been a bit more fitting. Well, the rest of the material kicks ass, and it’s a great album indeed! Shredding is alive and well!
4 Digital Reflection
5 Balance Of Power
9 Wasted Years
10 From My Heart To Yours