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Coenen, Marcel - 2003 Guitartalk

Marcel Coenen - guitars, all instruments

I'm not normally a fan of guitar instrumental albums. As we get further on into the 21st century, my position hasn't changed from its steely resolve. Occasionally a bit of flamenco or ambient stuff a la Neal Schon or Craig Chaquico won't go amiss, but neo-classical riff-fests don't do a lot for me now I'm afraid. However, to everyone's credit I will give it a listen, usually looking for that outstanding solo, or the musical variation which sets it apart. Of the heavier brigade, I do like Tony MacAlpine, Greg Howe, and Hungarian maestro Tamas Szekeres. Which brings us onto Dutch guitar-slinger Marcel Coenen, a guy who has played with many bands since his debut experience as a 16 year old with an outfit called Speedica. Since then he's played with prog bands Lemur Voice and more recently Sun Caged. This year, Marcel is involved with Hubi Meisel's 'EmOcean' project, plus the new Sun Caged album is to released later this year by Lion Music. To coincide, the label have reissued some of Marcel's solo work, which dates back to 1999. The guitars are played in tandem with a drum machine, and originally the material was recorded just for home recordings, but they have been remastered with three additional tracks.

The Songs
'Race Against Time' sees Coenen head off in a Tony MacAlpine like direction, particularly the double tracked solo parts played over some intensely aggressive riffing. 'Inner Alchemy' is a lovely soaring piece, which probably benefits from having less notes-per-second thrown at it! The groovy 'Fusion' sounds like a bit of experimentation, some good bits in between. 'Rebel' according to Marcel, is one of his older tracks, and sees him combining the styles of 80's HM heroes Cacophony and Racer X. The drums (or is that druum-machine) gets a thorough work-out here. I quite liked the track 'The Wet Season', with more than a hint of Eric Johnson stylistically, though without the occasional 100mph flurries. Even the Dutch national anthem gets an HM job done on it, refer track 8 for a blistering rendition. I can even see the Tulips wilting in the distance on this one! 'Shoreline' despite the hint that it might be a lighter musical moment, is in fact a heavier than thou piece, but thankfully it does mellow in the middle. Another lovely soaring tune is 'Moyra' while the best track (IMHO) is left till the end, the beautiful soundtrack oriented piece called 'Endless'.. grab a listen to that one if you can!

In Summary
Despite my usual misgivings about guitar instrumentals, Mr Coenen has managed to sway my attention with this effort. Again, not too different from what a lot of other axe-slingers are doing, but the appearance of tunes like 'Inner Alchemy' and 'Endless' makes this one stand out more than most.

Track Time: 50.10

Track Listing:
01 Independence Day
02 Race Against Time
03 Inner Alchemy
04 Fusion
05 Rebel
06 Fairy Tale
07 The Wet Season
08 Anthem
09 Shoreline
10 Moyra
11 Move That Groove
12 Endless

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