Pure Still Records
Words: Craig Hartranft
It's been nearly a decade, but master shredder and former Manowar guitarist David Shankle has revived the David Shankle Group aka DSG. As you would suspect, after nearly an eight year absence, Shankle returns with a new crew: Warren Halvarson on vocals, Gabriel Anthony on drums, and Mike Streicher on bass. Still A Warrior is Shankle's third solo album.
Also, as you would suspect, the album features two fundamental things: Shankle's wall of rabid riffs and his breathless neo-classical shredding solos. Curiously, in the very first song, the title cut, the former commands the most time, the solo actually rather brief. Even more curious, then, as you travel along, this seems mostly the pattern. Alternatively, the brief Demonic Solo and the longer instrumental The Hitman find Shankle up to speed, ripping of the fret board with abandon. In one sense then, if you like shred guitar leads, most of the album seems rather tame, with the riffs and chord structure holding sway.
Another observation, and it's more likely a feeling, but for some reason the songs sound confused or like a flurry of mixed parts. It almost sounds like each instrument was recorded in a different room in a different state or country, and almost as if each instrument heard only the guitar part and nobody else. For example, while I didn't care that much for the sound of his voice, it also seemed that Halvarson wasn't on cue with the melody and rhythm of any song. This simply gave me the feeling that each song and then the album as whole lacked some cohesiveness. I can honestly that, because of this, not a single song really jumped to the front (maybe the aforementioned The Hitman because of the many expected solos). I don't know, bottom line is that I wasn't all that impressed this time around. But David Shankle still has the guitar chops.
DSG's Still A Warrior features two fundamental things: Shankle's wall of rabid riffs and his breathless neo-classical shredding solos. Perhaps that's all you need to know.
This experience deserves mention for one very good reason: Finland's One Desire is one of the best classic AOR melodic hard rock bands in the genre and, perhaps, the world, right now So, I also apologize, in ... [ Read More ]