It seems that anywhere you go, you will find at least one guitarist, who is going solo with a sort of neo-classical Metal and an instrumental album. Greece now has one, too, at least this is the first one I personally hear of, so…
Anyways, Theodore Ziras is the name of the multi talent at hand, who, as so many of his kind, has done everything himself on "Virtual Virtuosity". And very often it becomes clear that the guys can play like hell, but their songs more or less sound pretty much the same and pretty much like the albums of the last guitar wizard before them, mostly because there are no vocals. So how does Theodore fare in this department?
Well, pretty much the same. The guy can play damn good and incorporates several classical elements into his music, so far so good. Maybe it is just me as a non-musician myself that I cannot really hear an own identity in his play (could be that someone, who knows a bit more about this can say that he does…), but in that area Ziras suffers like most of his colleagues: Identity. Also the fact that many, many other guitarists before him have walked exactly the way of neo-classical Metal does not exactly help his cause as you hardly will be able to find a spot not trodden before.
But the positive side of "Virtual Virtuosity" is that even I as a non-musician can actually enjoy listening to it as Theodore does not make the mistake of filling the compositions with senseless soloist fuddlings, but still has real structures within them. To pick out single tracks does not really work as there is none that really stands out in my ears, also because they are relatively close together style wise.
So if you like instrumental albums of this style, then "Virtual Virtuosity" is a worthwhile experience, I would say, if not, well, then you already know that you should circle it widely. (Online May 17, 2003)