Angel Vivaldi – Synapse

You may not have heard of ANGEL VIVALDI, but this guy is impressive. I’ve always loved great guitar players. Several that come to mind for you. VIVALDI isn’t exactly a household name, but he is a master of the Ibanez seven string. His first album was Revelations in 2008 with four more released afterwards. Self-released and out now, Synapse contains nine songs, all instrumental which he plays with lightning fast insanity. “Adrenaline” heads the lineup and features Julian Cifuentes. I think I’ve only heard one other person lay down sweeps and incredibly fast guitar like this song and that would be MICHAEL ANGELO BATIO. Really a well put together tune, with fast paced drums and great backing from his band. You’ll be pumped right out of the box.

“G.A.B.A.” is next up. To me it’s an infusion of BATIO with JOE SATRIANI, and VIVALDI slows down the pace to a more melodic vibe. A shorter song than the lead off, it seems more experimental. Third on the card is “Serotonin” featuring Nita Strauss (ALICE COOPER, THE IRON MAIDENS) and has a distinct SATRIANI feel. Some nice parallel harmonizing guitar lead playing with Strauss. The effort is very clean, not as fast-paced as the lead off, but very tastefully done. This one is all about the guitars, that is for sure.

“Dopamine” is next in the queue and features guitarist Oli Herbert (ALL THAT REMAINS). He is an excellent guitarist, however, most of the track is VIVALDI. Herbert seems to have a very minor role on lead. Although he has a nice 20-second solo, the tune is a bit disappointing if you want to “feature” someone. “Endorphin” of course involves shredding and more shredding. Most of the songs on the LP have a very similar, two dimensional feel, but this is probably my favorite. It is very entertaining and before I knew it, it was over and leaving me wanting more.

“Oxytocin” (featuring Gus G) of FIREWIND, brings some metal thrashing together in an explosive way. By far the longest tune on the album, the pair make for an explosive trip along the thrash highway. It’s a bit long, but with the bleve these two bring, it’s one of the best on the LP. “Noradrenaline” is a 50-second spot of melodic guitar work and an odd inclusion which ends abruptly. The first time I heard it I thought something had happened to my player. “Synapse” ends the effort on an electrically positive charge. VIVALDI jumps out of the speakers to blow your mind up front and later gives us finger tapping, mesmerizing technicality. Oddly, it also ends very abruptly.

When I first heard the album, I was very excited about the exquisite axemanship. But going song by song, I realized everything sounded pretty much the same. Even though it is nice to have some featured guitarists, I get the feel that they were included as an attraction to sell the LP and weren’t necessary. The guests don’t have many obvious parts. While there is no doubt that VIVALDI is one hell of a guitarist, Synapse to me lost something with repeated listens. Honestly, I think his 2014 Away With Words – Part 1 was a better record. However, If you like shredding on a mega scale, pick it up  and begin melting faces all over town. Salude’

STANDOUT TRACKS: “Oxytocin”, “Endorphin”, “Serotonin”, “Adrenaline”

RATING: 8/10


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