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X, Greg - 2011 Dream

ALBUM: Dream
LABEL: Self Released
YEAR: 2011


LINEUP: Greg X - guitars, bass, keyboards * Ken Tamplin - vocals, production * Jay Schellen - drums

Guest Musicians: Panos Kolias - keyboards (Wake Me (Before You Go') * Ed Villanueva - keyboards ('Dream The Dream', 'Stand Up')

TRACK LISTING: 01 As The World Spins 'Round * 02 Dream The Dream * 03 How To Love * 04 Wake Me (Before You Go) * 05 Stand Up * 06 Love And Hate * 07 Waiting On You * 08 Victory (instrumental)



First we had Madam X, way back in the 80's. Also doing the rounds were that trio of Texans called Kings X. Then we had the mid 90's American outfit Letter X. Soon after we had the excellent prog-metal of Symphony X. Now in 2011, we present to you Greg X. Apart from the third last letter of the alphabet, what else do all these X named artists have in common. Well, they're all playing a brand of melodic hard rock, albeit in their own individual style. It's that latter artist Greg X who we're focused on today. I'll admit to not knowing a great deal about this Polish born but London based guitar shredder, but upon the release of his debut album 'Dream', it seems the man is very highly-connected, not only as a musician but also as a guitar teacher in the south-western (tennis playing) suburb of Wimbledon in London. Greg, well connected individual that he is, has hooked up with musicians such as Ken Tamplin (Shout), Jay Schellen (Hurricane, Unruly Child, Asia and more recently Firewölfe) and John Payne (Asia), who all help out.

The Songs
Because of Greg's fearsome reputation as a guitar shredder, there was every concern leading into this album that it could've ended up being a shred-metal/neo classical fret-fest, but that's not how 'Dream' turned out at all. There are 8 tracks, and most of them dabble in the 80's style of hard rock, with a couple of influential examples being Joshua and Danny Danzi in the guitar department. There are keyboard parts reminiscent of too many 80's acts to be honest, plus Ken Tamplin's vocals give it that professional edge, along with his production and engineering skills. Much like the recent Firewölfe album, it appears this album was also conjured up in the studio across many thousands of miles of fibre-optic cable. Normally, I'm not really a fan of such get-togethers as the sound becomes more artificial/synthetic rather than the organic experience of jamming and rehearsing in the studio which tends to draw out a more realistic response. However, 'Dream' sounds quite earthy and real. Opening up with 'As The World Spins Round', there are a load of vocal harmonies from Tamplin, the song chugs away happily, topped off by an extended guitar solo with gang-chants bolted onto the solo section. 'Dream The Dream' is blatant 80's pomp fare, though those keyboards sound kinda cheesy. 'How To Love' is a mid-tempo part-ballad with a pumping bass line, Tamplin again factors in multi-harmony vocals but overall I found it a bit boring. However the solo was pretty good. 'Wake Me (Before You Go)' is a much better tune than the previous one, with aggressive guitar parts and a generally rockier effort. Not sure what was going on with 'Stand Up'. The lyrics were a distraction, the arrangement not helping either. 'Love And Hate' has a foot-stomping quality about it, a rock anthem for sure, whereas 'Waiting On You' has a jangly quality about it, think mid 90's releases by a bundle of independent acts and you'll have some examples to compare against. Just as thought this album was going to disappear off the cliff without any witnesses to the event, along comes a track called 'Victory' which saves the bacon. Admittedly there's too much widdly diddly, arpeggio sweeps and the like, but it has some great qualities too, such as a Celtic feel throughout, perhaps reminiscent of the late Gary Moore in places.

In Summary
As a first outing, 'Dream' is a noble effort. As for a bunch of melodic rock songs, the songwriting needed to be a bit more convincing in my books, and there needed to be a better balance between pure songs and some overly guitar-oriented material. For me, I would've preferred to hear Greg X really shred, instead we get a competent guitarist who is restrained mostly from going too OTT which is a shame, but entirely understandable for a debut. Six string thunder on the next CD please Greg.. Lol!

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#1 | gdazegod on October 11 2011 02:47:43
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