The Theory

Gareth Thomas

Independent release, 2006

REVIEW BY: Bruce Rusk

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 06/30/2006

Gareth Thomas is a South African now living in Wales, but that's not important. What matters is that debut recording is an impressive self-produced progressive rock journey through many instrumental landscapes. Playing all instruments on these primarily guitar-centric songs, his compositions are powerful and cover a wide palate of sonic textures from spacey ambience to bone-crunching heavy metal.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Thomas expresses a wide range of influences; nods to prog voyagers Pink Floyd and Porcupine Tree cross paths with the the likes of Metallica and Iron Maiden, as well as contemporary axe-slingers like Steve Vai and Joe Satriani. You might even catch a stylistic nuance of Alex Lifeson and David Gilmour.

One of the pitfalls I have run into with this type of music is the tendency to pile on layer after layer of instrumentation until it's so busy the listener loses focus. Thomas avoids this trap while still interweaving multiple guitar tracks and some tastefully restrained keys to create a full, rich sound that never becomes too dense to appreciate the careful arrangements.

At its core, this disc is a celebration of the guitar. The title track starts off dreamy and low key with some Gilmour-esque sustain-drenched guitar over a thrumming bass line that slowly fades out, only to return in a full-on speed metal barrage. "Elevation" begins as a moody synth trip, slowly building in intensity until Thomas pulls all the stops for some maniacal riffing and an incredibly juicy solo (yes, the whole disc is a solo, but I didn't know how else to describe it). The closing track, aptly titled "The End," is a prog-metal tour-de-force wherein Thomas gracefully travels from ethereal ambience to crushing heavy metal riffing and back again effortlessly.

Throughout the disc, Thomas shows a powerful yet controlled mastery of his instrument with his evocative and melodic solos, using the voice of the guitar to segue from the more ambient moments into rich melody and blistering fretwork without it ever sounding forced.

While it meanders and loses focus now and again, The Theory features superb musicianship from Gareth Thomas. It's a pleasure to hear a talented musician work his craft.

[To buy the CD or learn more about Gareth Thomas, visit www.garfomusic.com]

Rating: B-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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