If it was good the first time, then just repeat it. Power trio Points North returns with their eponymous second album, another platter of largely instrumental, guitar driven, melodic progressive hard rock. But wait, the band now includes one vocal song as well.
At the heart of Points North is guitarist Eric Barnett, who plays with an nearly eclectic style ranging from basic rock to shred to fusion. He can be quick in a flurry of fret amazement as with Ignition, Sky Punch, or Foxes & Cougers. Or he can be subtle, even light, as within Rites of Passage. Yet, in the end, this song also has a monster crescendo. Harlequin is similar, using acoustic guitar through the first two-thirds, only to rip open and get loud in the second half with sharper leads. But as much as Barnett is a talented player, he's also an exceptional composer. In league with his musical cohorts, every song is complete piece, having a beginning, middle and end, held together by the glue of melody and the players' natural collegial rhythm.
Also, this is not to say that bassist Uriah Duffy and drummer Kevin Aiello are some bit players or musical jobbers. Listen carefully and you can hear Duffy's magical finger work to be as daring as it is complimentary to Barnett's guitar work. He can easily move from rock to fusion in a single song. Aiello, on the other hand, seems the odd man. By the simplicity of his kit, you may deduce that he's there simply to keep the beat. Yet his rhythm and tone are equally substantial and engaged with his partners. You can hear him follow the harmony of the guitar, but also the groove of the bass. Who says you need a kit the size of Neil Peart to be expressive? Their skills become self-evident in the breakdown in the middle of Sky Punch or the action about two-thirds in where Duffy leads the way in the breakdown.
So what about the vocal song, Colorblind? It's a rather heavy number with sharp guitar riffs and points. Actually there's not many words to the song, verses at the front and back end. Whoever is doing the singing doesn't have to worry about giving up his day job. Again like the album as whole, it's basically another guitar rock song. If they never do another vocal song again, I won't miss it. But I'm thinking there might be some potential as well. Otherwise, Points North is another fine album of guitar driven melodic progressive rock, something from which guitar wonks will probably get a large woody. Recommended.
Points North is another fine album of guitar driven melodic progressive rock, something from which guitar wonks will probably get a large woody.
It's been sometime since I heard from Iced Earth. My last Iced Earth review was nine years ago for 2008's The Crucible of Man - Something Wicked Part 2. With all the music that gets pitched my way on a daily, and yearly, basis I'm not ... [ Read More ]