I am a 7-string instrumental "progmetalfunk" guitarist/songwriter based out of New Jersey. I have many endorsements and six albums out (working on the 7th cd very soon).
Influences include: Led Zeppelin, Rush, Living Colour, Ritchie Blackmore, Jimi Hendrix, Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Vai, Vernon Reid, etc...
One of the great things about instrumental music, is your mind is allowed to wander and create its own story to what it hears. Creating a unique listening and emotional experience each time you hear a song. You may have heard it 10 times, but each time you take away something new. That is certainly the case when you listen to Steve Bello’s new album Marblehead.
If I had to use one word to describe the album, it would be intense. But even that pales in comparison to all the emotions, thoughts, and memories the music conjures up while you are listening. Particularly in the song Black Skies and Sunshine, I wouldn’t say the song was “heavy” in the traditional sense but underneath all of the heart pounding riffs and epic breakdowns was this cadence of doom. Not doom in the negative sense of the word but if I had to paint a visual, imagine you are in the subway and there is the fast paced traffic of the tunnels and trains. All the different people scurrying around with their lives and their own agendas. But then there is the dark tunnel where you get the sense someone or something is watching you but you don’t know what it is or if it wants to harm you. Nevertheless the intensity continues to build, the adrenaline continues to flow, while this dark energy lingers just waiting to strike. Which is very much like the real world. No matter what is going on around you, at any moment something bad could happen. Maybe this song is giving us a subtle reminder that darkness is always watching and waiting for us, so while our lives might be fast paced, you never know when you will be forced into the tailspin.
Then we get to the song Turn to Rust when Steve turns on the musical charm. This song is sultry and intoxicating, like the first sip of wine after a long and exhausting day. You can just kick off your shoes, sit in front of the fire and get lost in the hypnotic waves of the guitar and melt with the gentle rhythms of the drums. My favorite part of this song is when it sounds like the guitar is dancing with the melody within the song. Its like having two songs within one that play at the same time but meld together so perfectly, much like two lovers dancing and creating their own story together. As soon as you get entranced by these lovers dance the breakdown hits and the romance has turned to passion. It is more unbridled and commanding. It is incredibly easy to get lost within this song and let your emotions wander. But as any passionate person knows, the dance must come to an end and you are left that sense of yearning wishing it could last forever.
The anthem of the album has to be Heart of A Warrior, because honestly after you are finished listening to it, you will feel like you can take on anything and anyone. The song has a battle of good and evil within it, but in this song, you can be the hero and use your own story line. There are no lyrics to dictate what you should be feeling or what story you should be following. So grab that metaphorical sword and fight all the demons trying to stop you from being who and what you are. Take no prisoners and show all the haters including self doubt, that you can’t be broken. I am not certain if it is appropriate to say that Steve has a fantastic grasp on being a storyteller, since there are no words, but his story is in the music. He gives you all the building blocks you need in order to let your mind go, he might have his own story behind why he wrote the music but he allows you to do the same with his inspiration. That is truly one of the greatest gifts and artist can give the world. Allowing the listener to use the artist’s inspiration to create their own art, even if it’s only in your mind. It gives you a release of the pain, anguish, confusion that life brings to us. It certainly is the healthiest release out there. But at the same time he creates a bond with all who listen. That sense of belonging we all want in one way or another. To know we are not alone.
Being an instrumental album, I could simply give you a technical breakdown of the songs but I don’t feel that would be giving his art the justice it deserves. Usually when artists create music there is emotion behind it or a very personal story, for me to just pick it apart analytically and technically would be in a way killing its purpose. Marblehead is an emotional instrumental story, each song on the album is a whole new chapter in life. Listen to it but most importantly feel it, shut out the world and give yourself to the music to help release your soul. It will help no matter what battles you might be facing. I know it has done that for me, to which I say, thank you Steve Bello for writing the soundtrack to the world’s life story.
All reviews are written by Italian Metal Queen ( @Nights_Storm )