Saturday, December 28, 2013

prog metal: The Great Gamble; and Al Joseph

The Great Gamble; and Al Joseph
Would you be interested in hearing a prog metal band that really is prog? One of those bands that writes lengthy compositions without much regard to making “simple” music for the “average listener”? If your answer is a positive one, then look into: The Great Gamble and its album “Book 1.” This bunch is supposedly planning a return to action in 2014, given that 2013 seemed to be a year of low activity. You could justifiably make the case that “Book 1” (2012) is elitist brainiac prog. Besides a very brief track (1:34), there are five full songs: four clock about 10 minutes on average, and the last is some 16 minutes.
Let’s not kid around. The Great Gamble is music for musicians, for people with lots of patience, for metal seekers, for the selective prog listeners, and new listeners whose minds are receptive to something more complex.
You can imagine that it takes repeated listens for all of this music to make sense. These songs go into meandering paths, on tangents, and it’s only minutes later that the band may return to the chorus. Expect guitar solos, long instrumental segments, and very proggy passages. Personally, I do remember certain passages from songs, but it takes at least a few listens to absorb the album, which is a pretty good feeling, giving you reasons to come back to this ambitious self-release by a young band struggling to make a name for itself.
Some very pleasant economic news: this album is available for free at Bandcamp.
In other news related to The Great Gamble, the band’s guitar player Al Joseph has an instrumental shred album called “Out in the Open” and it’s definitely for listeners into guitar-centered shred. If you buy shred albums by Joe Satriani, Tony MacAlpine, Steve Vai and other legendary guitar wizards, AJ will be a new artist interesting to you. AJ’s guitar power cannot be denied, and although he is not yet a guitar jedi, he is on his way. As Yoda would say, “Patience young one, be the guitar kingdom keys yours they cannot yet. Yes, hmmm, but yours and the treasure you will find will soon they be. Yeessssss.”
In any case, if you are a tolerant and patient music listener into prog and shred, then look into The Great Gamble and Al Joseph.

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