Steve Rothery has finally gotten around to recording his first solo album, The Ghosts of Pripyat. He was first asked nearly 30 years ago if he would like to make the attempt. But the Marillion founder and guitarist kept on recording material for his band. His hand was forced, so to speak, when he asked to play the Plovdiv guitar festival in October 2013. There he played everything on this album excepting, the title track, which I'm guessing was created later.
There's little doubt that Rothery is an exceptional guitarist and composer. We know this already from Marillion. While hints of his day job are easily found here, Rothery extends and expands upon his work, making this a truly guitar centered album wrapped around his style. In one sense it reminds me of David Gilmour's first solo album. It didn't sound like Pink Floyd, but you definitely knew it was Gilmour.
Rothery style is formidable, as much smooth and precise as eloquent and soaring. Strangely enough, he's nearly subdued on this album. Certainly with nearly all of Morpheus and Kendris which have quite sublime guitar work from Rothery, almost jazz fusion sublime.
It's not that there aren't some brisk riffs. You get them within White Pass and Yesterday's Hero, the latter moving from quiet to rousing in the end. Summer's End does much the same thing. The longest piece Old Man of the Sea and the title cut are probably the most compelling examples of this motif, light in the first half, larger and more lively in the second. With the title cut the first half is almost entirely built upon acoustic guitar. Then gears are shifted, and riffs get heavier, drums stronger. It's almost as if Rothery had two ideas, two different songs, in his head, and simply decided to glue them together. Or maybe there's some mystic dualism swimming around in that creative brain. Or maybe he's just likes messing with us, being quietly provocative to start a song, only thump on us in the end. Regardless of the speculation, The Ghosts of Pripyat is a fine and entertaining collection of music from a quite creative guitarist. Easily recommended.
Postscript: Rothery has Steve Hackett playing on Morpheus, and Steve Wilson guesting on Old Man of the Sea.
Steve Rothery's The Ghosts of Pripyat is a fine and entertaining collection of music, guitar-oriented melodic progressive rock, from a quite creative guitarist. Easily recommended.
Missing in action for nearly six years has been Labyrinth, one of Italy's seminal and leading progressive power metal bands. Yet, the musical muses at Frontiers Music were able to persuade founding members ... [ Read More ]