George Bellas - _Turn of the Millenium_
(Shrapnel, 1997)
by: Brian Meloon (7 out of 10)
In a few years, it might seem more likely that this album was released in 1987 than in 1997. It's definitely a throwback to the days when neo-classical shredding was in vogue. Stylistically, this is something like a cross between Joey Tafolla's _Out of the Sun_ (1987) and Jason Becker's _Perpetual Burn_ (1988). Bellas is a top-tier guitarist, with impressive chops. The songs are all instrumental, and have a mix of darker melodies (as JT) and happier ones. The album also has significant progmetal leanings, including some elements of Dream Theater's style. The keyboard work is good: reminiscent of MacAlpine, and not overused. The songs were all written by Bellas, and feature multiple sections, with definite but varied structures. The tones and instruments used also display a good deal of variety. The album features three different drummers, including session god Deen Castronovo. The production is good, though two of the tracks have worse production, due to the way the drums were recorded. Unfortunately, Bellas doesn't really fix any of the problems that caused the end of the neo-classical genre many years ago. The songs are often vehicles for his soloing, which wears thin after awhile. This is a good album, but by no means revolutionary.

(article published 5/2/1997)


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