Saturday, September 27, 2008

Blog Poll

Hey guys, anyone checking the blog? I so, could you please head over to the SA Forums and let us know what you htink of the blog and how it could be improved?

Thanks. Adji

Friday, September 26, 2008

A Moments Silence For One Of The Greatest

Today -September 26th - is the five year anniversary of the death of the great musician Shawn Lane. For those not familliar with his playing (and why not?) Shawn was a fantastic guitarist (still hailed as one of the greatest both musically and definitly technically) in the Fusion realm. He was also a fantastic keyboard/piano player and those who met him say a great and humble guy.
May he rest in peace.

If your not familliar with Shawn i highly reccommend the Powers Of Ten album although its a little hard to source down nowadays but well worth it if you can find it.
You can find Shawn's official site (run by his mother and nephew) here -

Here is a fantastic tribute video to mark the occassion by a guy known over the net as WillJay. WillJay is probbly the biggest Shawn Lane fan and is fighting to help keep his memory alive.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Another Bellas Album!

George Bellas is hard at work on his latest album, Step Into The Future, which is scheduled for a January 2009 release. Does this man ever stop working!?
The album will feature Marco Minnemann on drums and what is special about this album, which is now in the final stages of mixing and mastering, is that on the album there is only one track, but its 76 mins long!

Here is the word from the official Bellas site. -

The new album "Step Into The Future" by George Bellas is complete and in the final stages of production. This new album is the most massive body of music that George will have ever released. It was composed in an intense frenzy of inspiration between December 9th, 2007 and January 12th, 2008. The writing process took place every single day with George frantically composing note by note with only paper and pencil. The album once again stretches the boundaries of the composer's prolific abilities and utilizes compositional elements not found on any of his other releases.
"Step Into The Future" is ultra-modern and progressive in style and very elegantly displays a vast dynamic range of sound. There are melodies on the album that are pin-drop soft, subdued and spine-shivering, and then there are moments of bombastic explosiveness that reveal an entirely different madman type character. There is a big surprise to the album that will be revealed just prior to it's release and will instantly set it apart from the current trend.

Sorry i havent been bringing much news to the blog recently, ive had a lot of going ons in my life to contend with but i feel osme of the other guys have held the fort well so thanks to the rest of the blog team.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Album Review - Dave Cardwell "Gone"

Machine gun guitarist and prolific recording artist, Dave Cardwell, hails from Indianapolis, Indiana. His first three albums were released in 2006 and 2007 under the bandname Raise the Shield, and in the summer of 2007, Dave teamed up with Chicago shred master, Zack Uidl, to release the album “Recollection” in early 2008, as Thoughts Betrayed.

Dave released his solo album, “Gone”, in the summer of 2008, and is currently working on several album projects to be released in late 2008 and early 2009.

While having a well-stocked arsenal of uber-shred techniques, Dave’s albums are never a vehicle for his guitar chops alone. Instead, he exhibits his plethora of talents, including mature songwriting skills, a strong production technique, and decent vocals.

Having listened to Dave as Raise the Shield, I fully expected the songs on “Gone” to be shred-heavy and packed full of Dave’s old-school and modern thrash metal influences, and I wasn’t disappointed.

“Gone” is made up of 11 tracks crammed with all the double kick drums, razor-sharp rhythm guitars, and lightning-quick solos you could shake a pointy headstock at.

What I liked about each track:

Get Me Fired: Massive intro to the album, evil chorus vocals, super cool solos, and excellent old-school ending.

Ages: Head-banging riffs, top-class vocal vibrato, and face-melting solo.

Maya: Very European-sounding atmospheric bridge with a nice guitar and keyboard harmonized outro solo.

Fate: More fantastic harmonized guitar and keyboard.

Echoes: Crazy Rusty Cooley-inspired intro, and driving rhythm section.

Liars: Great neo-classical-inspired intro and outro.

City: A great showcasing of Dave’s ability to produce modern metal mayhem.

Gone: Great vocals and harmonized solo intro, and possibly the album’s single.

Jade: Old school heaviness, twisted riffs, and a blazing solo.

Why: Scary piano intro and awesome breakdowns.

Stranger: Heaviest vocals on the album, with haunting keys in the background.

“Gone” is a great album for both shredders as well as metal fans who don’t play music themselves. In short, get it.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Album Review - Paul Kleff "Machined"

Paul Kleff is a rock/metal guitarist based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA, and has over 20 years of experience as a musician, instructor, composer and performer. He was originally inspired by artists like Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix and The Who, which got him started on acoustic guitar, learning some chords, songs and the basics of guitar playing.

Paul was soon drawn to the fire, expression and speed of artists like Edward Van Halen, Randy Rhoads, George Lynch and Yngwie Malmsteen. He then set out to learn the styles of his heroes and began practicing and developing a lead guitar style based on both blues-influenced rock and the neoclassical shred styles of his newer influences.

Paul was featured on the 2008 compilation CD, “Guitars from the Shadows,” along with 12 other musicians from all over the world.

In mid September 2008, Paul will be participating in a seven city instructional clinic tour through the Midwest USA, along with six other guitarists and international touring and recording artist Tom Hess. The clinics will be held at Guitar Center and local music stores in each city.

Paul teaches private lessons at his studio in Grand Rapids. Having successfully helped hundreds of students, he continues to develop specialized programs of study for each individual student based directly on their musical goals. Paul has also featured as an instructor on and, and will be featured on additional guitar instructional websites in the future. He is also developing new instructional products set to be released in late 2008. A full-length CD is also planned for release in 2009.

Paul’s debut solo release is a four-song EP called “Machined”. It was written during late spring and summer 2008 and recorded during July 2008. The CD is made up of two instrumental songs and two songs featuring guest vocalist Jerry Keyzer.

The songs cover elements of rock, metal and shred. All the tracks are melodic, but what I find most pleasing is Paul’s ability do drop an unexpected twist into his riffs and leads.

All music was composed and performed by Paul and all lyrics were written and performed by Jerry Keyzer. The CD was mastered by Rob Perez.

Looking at the individual tracks:

The first track, “Grind”, has one of the best verse riffs I’ve ever heard. Heavy, driving, and mean, with some trademark Kleff twists. The solos are great compositions in their own right and, while showcasing Paul’s awesome chops, they remain fresh and melodic. “Grind” is a great opener to the CD.

Track two, “Last Stand”, is the first of two vocal tracks featuring vocals by Jerry Keyzer. I hear a lot of Iron Maiden and old Queensryche in both the vocals and guitars in the chorus section. The solo is great and fits the song well, as opposed to being a gratuitous flash of skill, and it remains tasteful and nothing sounds forced.

The third track, “Dead Line”, is the second vocal track. Building from just a clean guitar and vocals, it morphs into a mid-tempo metal anthem, bridging the gap between an air punching epic and a metal ballad. Keyzer’s delivery is powerful, emotional and raw. The fast linier runs, pedal-point ideas and swept arpeggios, combined with Paul’s excellent vibrato create another melodic mini-composition for the solo section.

The opening guitar phrase to the fourth track (and second instrumental) “As If…”, is so cool I immediately picked up my own guitar and learnt it. It floats over a piano-based rhythm section which eases off as the lead guitar builds for the chorus. The melody over the opening and verse sections has a vocal-like quality in both the tone and phrasing. The bridge and outro section show a great use of vibrato and harmonized lines to express a great deal of emotion. The song is essentially a hard-rock ballad and it ends the CD off well.

As a whole, the production is clear and balanced, while Paul’s melodic sensibility is fresh and often unexpected. I can’t wait for a full album.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Summer Song - No Internet

Hey Shred Fiends! I've been away for most of the Summer in France and managed to survive no internet access for a whole month...the first few days of cold turkey were tough, but then I started doing some really weird things...

For example instead of surfing the net looking for new music, tabs, tips, guitar porn and forum chat I treated myself to a Korg Pandora and grabbed my trusty old strat (my first real guitar that I bought in '89) and sat down to actually play! So what was I doing? Well I spent quite a bit of time setting up loops and jamming around neo-classical type phrases using the harmonic and melodic minor and some of their various modes. There's no substitute for practising with a beat and the Pandora is very cool for that! I also explored playing over different types of beat, reggae, hip hop, dance, etc and had some amazing fun using the guitar synth patch. It was loads of fun to plug the pandora in the hi-fi at a post surf party, crank up a hip hop beats and knock some Scott Henderson style licks...nobody complained at all! In fact people were dancing. Wow, why is it when I changed to a metal backing track and started to 'shred' everybody shouted at me...

I met lots of French folks who really love their shred guitar, many of you probably know that guys like the late great Shawn Lane, Ron Thal and Greg Howe are really well known in France, no coincidence that Ron has been playing those awesome Vigier guitars for years, not to mention Shawn Lane. My copy of Guthrie Govan's 'Erotic Cakes' was listened to intently by many French shredders and surfers too. I expect that a few orders from France have been received at

Of course I was spreading the Shred Academy word too, so maybe we have a few new forum members too.

Anyway now that I'm back home it's time to kick off my new covers band, Metropolis, so I'll be sharing some thoughts on that of the coming months.

More importantly, after 9 years from concept to completion, on the 12th Sept I'm taking delivery of my own design guitar from the genius luthier and all round good guy, Colin Keefe watch this space! I hope I like now it's finshed - EEEK!

Finally, over the coming weeks and months I'll be recounting my conversations with all sorts of interesting guitar related folk.

See ya

Shred Bloggs