Time marches on as the genre of progressive metal expands into fresh sonic vistas and expressive landscapes. Al Joseph continues that exploration with a sound that combines the best elements of heavy guitar, imagination, and virtuosity. A Berklee College of Music alumnus, respected music educator and recording artist at Jam Tracks Central, Joseph’s second solo album benefits from polished production, ear-friendly concepts, and crafty arranging.
Case in point is “Shift,” with its lush piano introduction followed by poignant arpeggiated guitar lines and soaring melodies. Joseph burns up the fretboard, leaving hip, alternate time signatures in his wake. “Shogun” begins with a pummeling groove that morphs into rich guitar tones and melodies to match.
On “Calling,” harmonies embellish the main theme and careen into liquid legato work. Guitarist Per Nilsson makes an appearance on the anthemic “Ocean Levels,” which also contains an awesome violin solo. Marco Sfogli wails on the epic title track. One of the standouts is the melody-infested “Nightlights,” with its funky groove and behind-the-beat lines featuring guitarist Jack Gardiner.
Joseph is a gifted guitarist with facility for days, but who puts composition and melody first.
This article originally appeared in VG March 2018 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.