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Apart from various other bands and artists on their roster, Dutch label Mascot Records seem to have found a niche with instrumental guitar albums. Not only that, but instrumental guitar albums of a consistent high quality. Kiko Loureiro's 'Fullblast' is no exception. Brazilian born, Loureiro is perhaps well known within the scene for his technical fretboard widdlings in South American power metallers Angra but, in more recent years, has worked with Tarja Turunen alongside drumming legend Mike Terrana who also lends his talents to 'Fullblast'. Bass is handled by Loureiro's Angra bandmate Felipe Andreoli, so the calibre of musicianship is high, and they all perform their socks off throughout each track. Musical heterogeneity is the order of the day on this release, the man's third solo release to date - aside from the metal underpinnings at the heart of the album, Loureiro skilfully interweaves elements of samba, rock and jazz, all wrapped up neatly in a progressive overcoat. Progressive, that is, in his forward thinking approach towards instrumentation and compositional innovation which maintains interest in the music at all times - an essential quality for the success of any album devoid of vocals, which Loureiro achieves with discernible ease. Terrana's and Andreoli's contributions are to be admired here but this is primarily a guitar-centric album and it is Loureiro's lead work which drives each and every track; his wide array of playing styles on display throughout are as exciting in their execution as they are in their diversity. He is indubitably a virtuoso in terms of technical ability, no-one would disagree with that, but the disparate emotions conveyed through his playing cement his true virtuosic credentials, for I've always attested that technical mastery does not solely constitute virtuosity. Compositional-wise, the album holds up throughout too as captivating melody after captivating melody helps the album flow seamlessly from start to finish despite all the stylistic twists and turns. Amazing stuff from an amazing player.
Mascot Records
Review by Mark Holmes
16th August 2010
1) Headstrong
2) Desperado
3) Cutting Edge
4) Excuse Me
5) Se Entrega Corisco!
6) A Clairvoyance
7) Corrosive Voices
8) Whispering
9) Outrageous
10) Mundo Verde
11) Pura Vida
12) As It Is. Infinite
"...his wide array of playing styles on display throughout are as exciting in their execution as they are in their diversity."