Friday, May 12, 2023

Roger Staffelbach - a celebration of neoclassical guitar

Roger Staffelbach
The Quest
No Dust Records
12 May 2023
Right before writing this review I had been listening to two albums that ultimately I decided not to review because I was annoyed with the vocals, especially considering that both of the bands have existed for well over 20 years each. The low-skill vocals are such a turnoff. Then I came across this instrumental neoclassical guitar album and I was glad not to have to deal with incompetent vocals that do not meet the standards. The objective of the album is to give the listener quality melodies, expressed in the form of instrumental compositions while maintaining the structure of songwriting. There is virtuoso guitar playing, shredding and dazzling skill in no short supply here, but there is also music. The guitarist Roger Staffelbach seeks intelligent, thoughtful listeners that enjoy high-quality neoclassical guitar music as an art. In addition, he invites his audience to dive into not just his neoclassical heavy metal guitar work but also into classical music itself by providing interpretations of classical composers Vivaldi ("Summer Presto") and Bach ("Air"), which, by the way, integrate rather smoothly into the overall aesthetic of this album.
Roger Staffelbach has been making music since the 1980s; therefore, it is impossible to detail correctly all the works. Nevertheless, this particular album should appeal to audiences that enjoy serious guitar music, whether it is Joe Satriani, Tony MacAlpine, Vinnie Moore, David T. Chastain, Joe Stump, Jason Becker, Timo Tolkki, Marty Friedman or any such great guitarists that make instrumental albums. On the other hand, readers that have not given instrumental metal guitar much of a listen, but that do like melodic guitar may start the journey here. Mr. Staffelbach also makes music in the traditional heavy metal format with singing, and that's the vast majority of music that he has made with the prog band Artension and other bands and projects. Anyway, if after this album, you'd like to hear his other works, I recommend Artension's album Phoenix Rising (1997). That is one that fans of Artension, which features the awesome singer John West, generally agree on. For now, we have The Quest to begin.
The Quest by Roger Staffelbach

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