Fireworks

Joe Matera - 'Terra Firma' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/4d/55/f0/joe-matera-terra-firma-79-1393272329.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     February 24, 2014    
 
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All nicely done but hardly inspiring.

I've listened to a lot of instrumental albums over the last few years, good, bad, indifferent, Then there's 'Terra Firma' that leaves me just a bit confused. Billed as 'Australian Guitar Hero' I guess I just expected a bit more from Joe.

'Intro III' starts off with a standard mid tempo rock riff with Joe's guitar picking out a lead rhythm over it, then just as you expect the track to launch into some fiery lead histrionics, it ends abruptly after just 44 seconds. 'Terra Firma' itself is next up and again it's the lead guitar picking out more of a harmony rhythm over the bass and drum lines, easy paced, lots of sustain until two minutes into the song we get an indication of what Joe can really do with a bit of pace and action in a true lead break, but then it's back to the harmony picking to replay the opening couple of minutes.

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Joe does mix things up a bit with a couple of vocal tracks on this album. First single 'Shining Star' get both the acoustic and electric treatment, but then again the 'No holds barred, full band rock attack' is something more akin to The Cars soft rock, with an acoustic rhythm and an all too brief lead break. It's actually the acoustic tracks where the album excels. The full acoustic version of 'Shining Star' is far superior and 'Brick By Brick' is another that again works well. Most of the songs seem to rely on Joe weaving a harmonic rhythm over a fairly standard rock track, deliberately slow paced, picking at the notes, with sustain and vibrato thrown in. All nicely done but hardly inspiring.

Which is what leaves me confused. The guy can clearly play, we get glimpses of genuine lead guitar runs at times but all too often it feels like Joe is playing well within himself. But for a self styled 'Guitar Hero' I don't get any feeling of fire in his belly, no flash, no histrionics, and whilst admittedly it is all too easy to go too far the other way, it all just seems very safe.
Show us some balls and really go for it on the next album, Joe.

Ian Parry

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