CD Reviews

Bastian - 'Back To The Roots'

Added by Central Electronic Brain     February 08, 2018    
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This is worth investigating, especially if you're a fan of Deep Purple, Rainbow and Dio.

This is Bastian's third release in almost as many years. Their 2015 debut 'Among My Giants' featured such Rock luminaries as Michael Vescera (ex-Yngwie Malmsteen, Loudness) and Mark Boals (ex- Yngwie Malmsteen, Ring Of Fire) on vocals alongside drummer extraordinaire Vinnie Appice (ex-Black Sabbath, Dio, Heaven And Hell). In 2016 came their sophomore release 'Rock Of Daedalus' and from my research it's clear that neither release set the world on fire. Now we have album number three, but will it be third time lucky? After numerous spins I can honestly say it's not bad, not bad at all.

Bastian have gone back to basics somewhat, both in their music and with the band dynamic. This line-up comprises of Sebastiano Conti (guitars), Appice (who retains his position on drums), Corrado Giardina (bass) and – in what I consider to be a stroke of genius – Apollo Papathanasio (ex-Firewind, Spiritual Beggars) on vocal duties. Anyone who has read my review of Apollo's debut solo album 'Waterdevils' in issue #77, or perused my interview with him, will know that I have only high praise for his vocal range and delivery. Needless to say, in my opinion, he is the highlight of this album without taking anything away from the musicianship that supports him. Let's just hope this line-up becomes a sturdy collective and not just another pick 'n' mix!

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Now to the music, which ultimately is what it's all about. 'Back To The Roots' says it all really as this opus is predominantly driven by the Classic Rock sounds of the seventies. Opener 'Goodbye My Room', 'Writing My Rock And Roll' and 'Moth Woman' all contribute to a high energy start to the album; it's all there, driving riffs, pounding drums, Hammond accompaniments and some short, yet extremely proficient guitar embellishments. The mid-tempo offerings of 'Midsummer Night's Dream', 'The Kite' and the minor epic 'Rock Age', plus the more sedate, semi-acoustic 'Jasmine & Sebastien', 'Dreamer' and 'Little Angel' all provide stimulating deviations. Irrespective of tempo, I must reiterate that Papathanasio doesn't put a foot wrong. However, and this is my only grievance, with fourteen songs on offer the final furlong is a furlong too far, despite Tracey Amos' (backing vocals Guns 'N' Roses 1991-1993) engaging contribution to a second version of 'Jasmine...'

All in all, this is worth investigating, especially if you're a fan of Deep Purple, Rainbow and Dio.

Dave Crompton

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