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Sammy Berell – ‘Passion Dreams’

posted 21 Apr 2017, 09:28 by Paul Woodward

(Dark Force/Sound Pollution)

Review by Woody

Taking his cue from eighties metal guitar virtuoso icons like Yngwie Malmsteen, Sammy Berell’s debut album shows his love of those artists who inspired him clearly and he has created a very retro sounding album. It could have easily have been written and recorded in the Mid-eighties when Malmsteen and Impellitteri were at the height of their popularity. It’s produced by Daniel Flores, who as I’ve come to expect provides a sterling production job yet again! He gives the songs a nice polish and modern production values but he doesn’t hinder or disguise the extremely throwback sound of the songs – he allows them to reveal in their eighties glory!

To be honest though the album fails to ignite my interest and I found it a very uninspiring collection of songs. There’s no denying Berells immense guitar talents which he showcases at every given opportunity and perhaps even sometimes when he should let a song breath. There was a couple of occasions where theirs a cool keyboard lick or intriguing guitar riff and he just widdles loudly over the top of it which just annoyed me! Music is always about the songs and nothing on this album resonates with me or even remotely captures my attention.

Berell’s style will appeal to fans of guitar virtuosos from the eighties era, his songs contain that same bombast and pomposity alongside strong classical music influences. This is an album for fans of the Guitar, it’s guitar widdling overload, but therein lies my problem with it - it’s guitar widdling overkill. I know lots of people who like fast paced high pitched noodling will be frequently unleashing their ‘O’ face throughout this album, but my own personal tastes mean’s It tends to be too convoluted for my simplistic tastes and leaves me bored.

Singing the majority of lead vocals is Michael Vescera who is in full on Eighties metal wailing mode, some of these performances would make Rob Halford proud. Lyrically the album is a tad underwhelming although some of the more fantastical lyrics should appeal to retro metal fans who like Dio and the like. Goran Edman who guests on a couple of tracks has a voice which is much more to my liking but the tracks he sings have little impact on me.

Fans of this style of music should check out ‘Passion Dreams’, ‘Star’ and ‘Starlight’ which are the strongest tracks for me.

Track Listing: Judgement Day / Midnight Flier / Memories Never Die / Sinner (Little) Sinner / Red Light Eyes (Devil In Disguise) / Passion Dreams / Star / Crown Of Thorns / King of Kings / Drakker / Sacrifice / Star Light / War

Album Rating: 3/10

Woody’s Essential Track: Star Light