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Apostate Profile
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Registered: 05-2005
Posts: 1843
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Uli Jon Roth Under A Dark Sky


Ulrich Roth is, along with Deep Purple's Ritchie Blackmore, the progenitor and pioneer of the movement to fuse Art Music with Heavy Metal/Hard Rock. The impact of his music is monumental: without Uli, there would have been no Randy Rhoads or Yngwie Malmsteen. As hard as that idea might be for the legions of Rhoads and Malmsteen clones, anyone taking a concentrated listen to any of the '70's Scorpions or early Electric Sun output would make the same judgement. One of the biggest differences between Uli and the Malmsteen/Rhoads factions is the fact that Roth has been more serious in integrating the distorted electric guitar into the orchestra, as opposed to writing Paganini-worshipping, lead guitar fixated "concertos" with silly orchestration. With this album, Roth has reached the peak of his compositional powers, incorporating most successfully operatic, chorale, intricate piano, and authentically symphonic variables into the Rock/Metal genre. No other artist or release has done this as effectively, up to this point in time. I should also mention that, from a purely lead guitar playing perspective, Uli's overall tone, attack, and sense of dynamics has become at least equal to the best Rock/Metal players in history, such as Jeff Beck, Blackmore, Schenker, etc.

When I first bought this cd, I had to prepare myself for a listen that would be almost entirely non-Metallic. Once I got past that, I was floored by how advanced that Uli's writing has become. He really is a legitimate composer that happens to play guitar, instead of a lead guitar player struggling to arrange heavy metal music for an orchestra. The guitar playing, like the first Sky of Avalon cd, comes in bursts for the most part, showing up at the best time to enchance the effect of it against the other instruments. He perfected the place of the guitar among the other orchestral instruments, unlike others whom just rewrote the cello cadenza parts for electric guitar.

I realize that alot of people here wouldn't be wild about the arty nature of this cd: the choirs, the length, etc. The fact is, the great majority of folks don't like to have to focus when they listen to a Rock/Metal cd, preferring to listen to the same song structures ad infinitum. For them, music is mostly entertainment, which of course is fine. But, as a musician and composer, I can't help but declare my profound admiration for what Uli has accomplished here. I think this is by far the best Rock release in well over 10 years.

I have read where people compared this to the old '70's releases of ELP, King Crimson, etc. This doesn't sound anything like those artists, in fact this sounds like something completely individual. That's the highest compliment I can pay any work of art.

I give this an easy 5 out of 5. This is one of those cds I know I'll get more out of each time I listen to it, and that is so rare for cds today.

I'm very grateful that this release exists: I find it tremendously inspiring and affirming. Most highly reccomended.

---
"Evil mind, lookin' down, without seeing at all."
10/3/2010, 20:56 Link to this post Send Email to Apostate   Send PM to Apostate
 
Apolllo Profile
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Registered: 10-2005
Posts: 995
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Re: Uli Jon Roth Under A Dark Sky


I have to say that I totally agree with you one this one ! As you said, it's one of those CD's. We don't get to hear albums which are that good that often...

I didn't really have an approach like you with this CD, not knowing what I was going to hear since I saw him in late 2007 and he was already playing two of the album tracks, Land of Dawn and The Magic Word. But discovering the album as a whole is a totally different experience. It's building up, leading the the climax that is Tanz in Die Dammerung.

When I saw him again after the release of the album he played it nearly from begin to end, only omitting SOS, Tempus Fugit and Light and Shadows. What an experience, it was brilliant, even though some of the orchestral part cannot be reproduced on stage, but overall there was no problems, and even Letter of the Law worked good, partly thanks to the amazing vocal abilities of both Mark Boals and Liz Vandall.

Anyway, I'm happy to see I'm not the only one to love this album !
10/3/2010, 23:09 Link to this post Send Email to Apolllo   Send PM to Apolllo
 
Rezi Profile
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Registered: 04-2004
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Re: Uli Jon Roth Under A Dark Sky


Thanks Andy!
11/3/2010, 7:32 Link to this post Send Email to Rezi   Send PM to Rezi
 
dp344 Profile
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Registered: 09-2005
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Re: Uli Jon Roth Under A Dark Sky


Missed this review.

I love this album, still play it regularly.
Apostate summed it up perfectly.

Like Apollo I saw UJR before the release (in Verviers), where he played those two tracks.
I think it was with Francis Bucholz, ex-Scorpions bassplayer.

After the release I saw him in Kerkrade. Thought it was a bit depressing seeing him play for only a handfull of people.
But despite all (technical problems also) he delivered a great show.
He even asked which songs we would like to hear. Came back for encores
 
The UADS songs sounded incredible with great contributions from Liz Vandall and Mark Boals.



24/9/2010, 8:13 Link to this post Send Email to dp344   Send PM to dp344
 


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