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Tamas - 1998 Blue Syndicate

ALBUM: Blue Syndicate
LABEL: Fandango Records (Japan)
YEAR: 1998


LINEUP: Tamas Szekeres - guitars, keyboards * Edwin Balogh - vocals * Tibor Varga - keyboards * Egon Poka - bass * Ferenc Debreczeni - drums

Guests: Kornel Horvath - percussion * Miklos Kuronya - drum programming and bass * Zsolt Gomory - keyboards

TRACK LISTING: 01 Shuffle Overture * 02 Midnight Train * 03 Blue Syndicate * 04 Hero With 1000 Eyes * 05 Soldier Of Time * 06 A Winner's Not A Loser * 07 Memory's Avenue * 08 Take Me Back * 09 Summer Town * 10 Etude Opus 48/No.5 * 11 Wheel Of Fortune * 12 Blundered Through The Week * 13 Prophecy * 14 Guitarmania * 15 Preludium


Coming to us all the way from Hungary, via Japan is guitar wizard Tamas Szekeres. Though this was originally released in 1996 on a Hungarian label (Hungaroton), we're reviewing the Japanese reissue released two years later. This is a mixture of guitar instrumentals plus vocal tracks, which combines all the best bits of Joe Satriani and to a lesser degree Tony MacAlpine. Sure, there's loads of widdly diddly guitar, but the tones used, and the general theme is so melodic that one can forgive the perceived 'oh no, not another guitar fret-fest!' approach. Where the vocals kick in, the music then ventures down a path similar to that of everyone's favourite axe-slinger Yngwie J Malmsteen, or Misha Calvin. You can appreciate then that an attempt has been made to write songs, and not just to wrap vocals around repetitive guitar riffs. And so it proves the case here.

The Songs
For instance, check out the effortless grace of 'Soldier Of Time'. A beautiful ballad of dreamy quality that pleads for your ear. Where Edwin Balogh sings so much like Terry Brock and Tamas does his best Tommy Denander 'melt me into submission' guitar solo, you know these boys are on the right path. Even 'Midnight Train' is aimed at the commercial melodic rock audience, rather than the avid string-bender community. Tamas performs two covers only: 'Hero With 1000 Eyes' which is a Steve Lukather, Dave 'Creachy' Garfield and Fee Waybill composition (this must be a Los Lobotomies track), plus Tony MacAlpine's 'Wheel Of Fortune' (off his 'Edge Of Insanity' opus). Both are played convincingly enough, I'm sure the originators would smile in appreciation. The MacAlpine flavour continues on the superb 'Guitarmania'. Tony would be impressed. All throughout you'll get a raft of impressive tracks to break out your tennis racket for the obligatory air-solo! Do be careful of breaking strings and finger nails! Ones to watch for include 'Summer Town', 'Shuffle Overture', and the soaring 'Memory's Avenue'.

In Summary
Tama's 'Blue Syndicate' is an album for connoisseurs of well crafted, intelligent guitar rock. It has solos galore, powerful instrumentation, and an excellent roomy production. For 15 tracks it's value for money (yay for the Japanese!) and surprisingly good, and that's coming from someone who fell out of favor with guitar type albums many moons ago. Comes recommended.

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