You might recall skilled guitarist James Williams from his recent X Opus project, The Epiphany, released last year on Magna Carta Records. It was a rather impressive album of progressive power metal with Williams guitar leading the way. With Eclectic Shred, Williams puts his guitar work at the forefront.
Listen:: James Williams: B17 Flying Fortress.
Guitar aficionado and producer Mike Varney of Shrapnel Records has compared Williams to the legendary Yngwie Malmsteen. Williams easily follows in that neo-classical tradition. But he's also inspired by a greater range of guitarists including Robin Trower, Larry Carlton, Al Dimeola, Gary Moore, and Jeff Beck, to name only a few.
Nevertheless, with this in mind, Eclectic Shred is definitely a guitar album, but one quite diverse. Williams moves deftly between neo-classical shredding to rock fusion, with stops in between. He can sound like power prog metal and than also orchestral and sublime. He burns up on B17 Flying Fortress and then becomes more progressive and inventive as on Journey to Andromeda. Needless to say, this is definitely an album for the guitar enthusiast and those value strong song composition and performance.
By way of production notes, Williams does nearly everything on this album from performance to production. He gets some help from Mike LePond (Symphony X) on bass, Matt Guillroy (James LaBrie, Malmsteen), and two additional guitarist add solos, Dave Thomas and Richard Tull. Fundamentally, if you like inventive and entertaining instrumental electric guitar in the neo-classical tradition, you'll like James Williams's Eclectic Shred. Recommended.