DC Slater

Independent release, 2005

REVIEW BY: Jason Warburg



Just had to get that out of the way.  The point being, this independently released (debut) disc from DC Slater paints him as a guitar player’s guitar player, a fret-frying melodic rocker whose live show would have the air guitarists out in force and the rest of the crowd studying his fingers’ every twitch for clues.

This collection of eleven instrumentals clocks in at a little over 40 minutes, which gives you a fair idea of Slater’s approach here – don’t waste time, find a groove, knock out some killer solos, then get out and find another.  This approach is refreshing in the sense that you don’t get a lot of noodling and the energy level stays high the whole way.  Even relatively mid-tempo cuts like “Eagles” and “Shades Of Grey” have an underlying propulsiveness that keeps things moving. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Slater’s style and tone, it must be said, owe a great deal to Joe Satriani.  He has that same clean finish, creative note-bending and tendency to attack solos aggressively without sacrificing melody.  The aptly named “Fuel” in particular feels like a lost Satch number with its rocket-powered tempo, solid chorus riffs and speed-demon solos.  “Pledge” veers into heavier territory but still feels like you could be surfing with the alien again. 

“Long Way Home,” buried near the end of the disc, is in fact one of the best cuts here, full of energy and bright riffs, along with some welcome, stutter-stepping tempo changes.  The latter points to the one real issue I had with this disc, one that has confronted many similarly gifted players before Slater.  Once you’ve sat through the seventh or eighth rip-roaring solo over a basic backing beat it becomes apparent what’s missing – subtlety, restraint, musical range.  This album is about 75% balls-out soloing, and it’s damned impressive stuff, but after 25 minutes you start feeling like maybe you accidentally put in one of those instructional CDs on how to be a guitar hero.  A slow blues, an acoustic number, a ballad -- anything to break up this monolithic slab of shredding would have helped.

Part of the relative lack of variety might be attributed to the fact that this is a true solo album, as in Slater also played the drums, bass and occasional keyboards on every track here.  Having other musicians to play off of and experiment with might have produced a less homogenous final product.  Maybe next time?

Those observations aside, Decisions is a razor-sharp debut from a player who is clearly a force to be reckoned with.  You might not have heard of DC Slater yet, but something tells me you will.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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