Band: Ioannis Anastassakis
Album: Orbital Attempt
Genre: Instrumental Prog
Guitar players like Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, and Yngwie Malmsteen are known for crafting music with one underlying desire, to showcase the guitar, and that seems to be what Greek guitarist Ioannis Anastassakis has set out to do with his album Orbital Attempt. Ioannis has completed music degrees on multiple continents and performed recitals all across Europe. But his resume does not need to speak towards his abilities, as Orbital Attempt seems to do a fine job showcasing his technicality and his technique.
While much of the album sounds like the instrumental guitar driven rock you’d expect there are a few tracks showcasing Ioannis’ abilities as a flamenco guitarist. Of course it’s only my general lack of knowledge of flamenco guitarists making this comparison, but often times I think I’m listening to Steve Howe when hearing tracks like “A Mil Madre”. In any case these flamenco tracks give the album some much needed separation, allowing a bit of a break where many instrumental albums might start going a bit stale.
For most of the album Ioannis seems to strive for a very forward and driving record with guitar runs exploding out of nowhere on a near constant basis. Layer upon layer of guitars almost assures there is never a moment where something new isn’t happening, and I suspect trying to dissect this record would make any guitarists head spin. This is the kind of record that would make Iron Maiden go, “So, THIS is what it sounds like when three guitars are actually fully utilized”, and the nice thing is in this instance it’s all being done by one man!
The flamenco tracks aside I can say (as a compliment!) some of the tracks on Orbital Attempt could make some great songs for a video game. I can just imagine listening to the powerful guitars as they get me more and more excited to finally beat the boss at the end of a level. For all of the albums good traits I’d say it can certainly get a little one dimensional at times, as might be expected. Sure, the album goes between rock and occasionally flamenco, but at all times the focus is clearly on the guitar work which could make it boring to those who like more to be featured in the music. Still, the manner in which the guitars are used on the album make for some very good compositions and for the most part the album stays exciting from start to finish.
I’d say anyone who enjoys a guitar driven record or an upbeat instrumental album must check out Ioannis. The man delivers some great songs, a lot of flare, and an enjoyable record to rock out to.
Nick’s Rating: 8.5/10