Chema Herrero - 'Hero' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     January 01, 2014    
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Herrero has forged a first class instrumental album.

I've always had a soft spot for a good guitar instrumental album; Joe Satriani's 'Extremist' & '...Blue Dream' albums still rate as two of my favourites. It's worth mentioning I wasn't as enthused with his later releases, or with most other recent guitar instrumentals, as they've become too focused on effects and pedals. It's the same reason I have always been cooler on Steve Vai despite finding his ability breathtaking. My virtuoso love was re-invigorated about 18 months ago with the stellar '313' album from Neil Zaza and now I have the chance to get acquainted with another virtuoso.

Chema Herrero is a fret-shredding axe-man from Spain who has studied with some of the greats including Paul Gilbert, John Petrucci and Vai. He has also shared the live stage with other legends like Mike Terrana, Andy Timmons and Jorge Salan. His debut is appropriately called 'Hero' and it's very much in the vein of those aforementioned Satriani albums. Of course there's still pedals and effects but they add to the music rather than become its core. At the slower end of the spectrum there is 'Dance Of Autumn Tears' which reminded me a little of Satriani's 'Cryin'.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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'Until I Find You' is another soulful number with some sensual playing although the peace is shattered for a few moments by a boisterous progression. 'Hero' includes one bonus track in the shape of the psychedelic ballad 'Dream Catcher' which is the only song to include any lyrics, (performed by Javier Nieto). But it's not all softly softly and the likes of 'The Only One', 'Evil Journey' and 'Breath' interweave heavy progressions of differing pace with some scorching fret work. My favourite though has to be 'Powerful Sensations' which is truly Satrianiesque and wouldn't sound out of place on any of his earlier albums.

Herrero has forged a first class instrumental album and although I didn't find it as instantly infectious as '...Blue Dream' or '313' it has quickly grown on me. Herrero is clearly a very talented guitarist who deserves to reach a wide audience on this evidence. The problem with these types of albums is that opinion on them is very polarized and it's that opinion that will define how good this is for you. I personally rate the best ones (as mentioned above) highly, and this is nearly up there with them. But if you have never understood the fascination with guitar instrumental albums then I doubt this will change your perception despite how good it is. Either way I would encourage you to take a look online at the newest addition to the six-string 'Hero' stable.

Dave Scott

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