CD Title: “Blackened”
Label: Independent Release GTRMAN Music Inc.
Release Date: 2008
I’ve come to realize that the musical side of Myspace is a pretty cool deal. It provides a democratic, open forum for
everyone to display their skills. Certainly for a genre like progressive rock music that has constantly been shut out of
the market by the major labels Myspace has been a godsend. Case in point GTRMAN and the disc Blackened. This is
the music and performance of one Dennis Williams based in Ontario Canada. Essentially a self-taught musical genius,
Williams performs all manner of guitar, bass, drums and keyboards to create what he’s subtitled A Heavy Metal
Symphony in the Key of “A”nger.
The eleven tracks here, all pretty much instrumental, are first and foremost quite a technical display of guitar playing.
Piano and other keyboards do show up from time to time, but this is first and foremost a guitar based CD and
sometimes it gets really heavy. But while the sounds are definitely from the prog-metal realm, the musical composition
is clearly from the classical side. The structure and musical arrangements of these compositions is quite complex and
at first you might be forgiven for thinking it’s just not going anywhere. But on repeated playings one starts to hear the
different levels of musical performance and it actually helps to know and think of this as more of a ‘metal symphony’,
because then the musical structure begins to make perfect sense.
Track 4 – “March into Hades” [9:58] reminds me of Therion with its massed choirs and dramatic opening theme. Other
times the music can be actually quite soft and reflective with Williams use of acoustic classical guitar such as
“The Final Farewell” [5:15] or the more keyboard oriented “Lost and the Undiscovered Soul” [7:39].
He also makes great use of sound effects and dialog loops to help convey the drama of the story. The second track
“Platoon/Plight of Man” [14:48] is a good example of this where you hear voice clips from the movie Platoon with some
atmospheric music in the background. Overall the more you think of this work as a symphonic piece in terms of
structure and style the more you come to appreciate what William’s has created.
Blackened – A Heavy Metal Symphony in the Key of “A”nger is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. But if you
enjoy the music created by guitarists such as Yngwie Malmsteen, Vinnie Moore, Joe Satriani or you can really
appreciate some amazing guitar pyrotechniques then this is a disc I think you’ll really get into. Whether you’re looking
for searing guitar solos, or some crunchy-double kick-drum moments you’ll find that and a whole lot more to satisfy
your cravings from GTRMAN.