Michael Harris is back with another instrumental record, and by the title, one would assume that it would be one of those instrumental NeoClassical releases, claiming to draw influences from guitar players like Yngwie Malmsteen & Jason Becker, as well as Classical composers like Bach & Paganini, and where the resultant music sounds like someone playing the harmonic minor scale at 32nd notes on the guitar, with the rhythm guitar beyond something run-of-the-mill and generic.
Michael Harris does not fall into the two pitfalls of the genre. For one thing, his view on how to mix Classical Music with Progressive Metal differs from most bands’ and musicians’, as he goes above and beyond just using classical scales and melodies within a Metal context. He composed all of the music with an orchestral approach in mind, with multiple counterpoint melodies, classical instruments (violins, etc.) and the nuances that classical music can create, all while still having the intensity of a Metal record.
You can figure out that since “Orchestrate” is an instrumental release, the technical skills of Michael Harris are quite up to par, but it is his compositional skills, his experimentation and tasteful melodies that set him apart from the pack. Other than the heavy orchestral element in the music, there are some traditional Folk influences that seep through in “Guiprice” and in “The Anti-Shred” and the Spanish guitar influence in “Schizo Forte” showcases his further will to go beyond the confinements of the genre he could be lumped into.
Also, Michael Harris does something on this album that I’ve heard few other instrumental guitar players do...He plays the “main” melody of the song, uses that to springboard to a different melody (or another section) and then he returns to the original motif again, in order to solidify it in the context of the whole song.
For a different take on instrumental guitar playing, check this one out.
(Online January 15, 2007)