Over the past several months I've had the pleasure of reviewing some great instrumental guitar albums from some outstanding guitarists including John 5, Daddo, and Emir Hot. Lion Music passed on to me another guitar phenom in Italian fret master Marco Sfogli. Mr. Sfogli is an accomplished musician applying his craft mostly as session guitarist. You may know him from his work on James LaBrie's (Dream Theater) solo work 'Elements Of Persuasion.' 'There's Hope' is his first solo project and it is a fine accomplishment.
One difficulty in reviewing an instrumental work is that you don't have vocals to guide you. There is a tendency to listen casually and miss the nuances in style from song to song. On 'There's Hope,' not only can you not miss Sfogli's skill, you cannot overlook his versatility in moving between styles. He easily transverse between melodic hard rock, melodic metal, fusion, and yes, even a tip of the hat to southern American blues.
The work begins with a nod to some basic 80's style melodic guitar rock on 'Still Hurts.' Thing quickly move to some more shred work on 'Andromeda,' but this is not the substance of the album. 'Seven' delivers a slower tempo rich with great licks and under girded by some fine piano. Keyboards play an important role in Sfogli's compositions as found on the aforementioned 'Andromeda,' and also on 'Genius' where the seem to duel. Marco nails the melodic rock with acumen on 'Sunset Lights,' blending acoustic and electric guitar work with outstanding keys and 'There's Hope,' a strong rocker with fiery fret work. Yet, my favorite work on this album is the last song, 'Texas BBQ.' It's short but Marco simply excels by delivering a country-fried Southern rock number. It's classic; total fun!
These days instrumental albums have fallen by the wayside; there just not profitable to a label. Thanks to Lion Music (and a few other labels) we're blessed to hear the future of young and aspiring guitarists. Marco Sfogli is a class act: talented, innovative and enjoyable. 'There's Hope' promises hope: very recommended!
- Craig Hartranft
These days instrumental albums have fallen by the wayside; there just not profitable to a label. Thanks to Lion Music (and a few other labels) we're blessed to hear the future of young and aspiring guitarists. Marco Sfogli is a class act: talented, innovative and enjoyable. 'There's Hope' is a fine release!