ELIAS VILJANEN – Taking The Lead (reissue)
Makes sense to push the debut solo instrumental outing from current Sonata Arctica guitarist Elias Viljanen – and package this with a professionally shot 7 song DVD of a live show illustrating the man’s talents. Originally coming out in 2002, “Taking The Lead” is 12 tracks of neo-classical shred done the European way, although he’s willing to take the proceedings into different slower directions with the tasteful “I Go Solo” as well as into Satriani-like groove for the appropriately named “Hyper Boogie”.
Elias has the tools to deliver power riffs and also solo emotively, keeping these instrumentals separate and distinct. “Passion For Glory” is rather straightforward and could be a slice of melodic hard rock heaven, the twin harmonies cascading against the bright riffs. This is one of those rare non-vocal albums that could appeal to more than the conventional musician hordes.