Japanese guitar God Paul Gilbert is not Japanese. He’s a Yank. Was in US Rockers MR. BIG and now when not on solo duties forms the mainstay of RACER X.
This best of collection coupled with a splendid acoustic bonus CD, Gilbert Hotel, is a mix taken from Gilbert’s three solo albums with a few new tracks added in for good measure.
Gilbert’s sound is a mixed affair. Influenced by VAN HALEN, CHEAP TRICK, QUEEN and Classical composers such as Bach. He is a virtuoso guitarist similar in type, style and panache of Ritchie Blackmore, Eddie Van Halen, Satriani and Steve Vai. His playing is masterful, especially some of his lead breaks but he never lets the widdly-widdly stuff get too out of control. As a song writer he veers from the sublime to the ridiculous. Check out the insanely catchy “I Like Rock’’ for the ridiculous and for the sublime his “Gilberto Concerto’’ J.S. Bach rearranged for electric guitar and the extended guitar solo in “The Second Loudest Guitar In The World”. BLACKMORE would be well proud of this.
Although I am a touch hesitant to label this strictly Heavy Metal Gilbert infuses Pop Rock melodies with driving Metal-ish riffs that do indeed Rock! Tracks like “I’m Not Afraid Of The Police’’, “Down To Mexico’’ and “Individually Twisted’’ all show case his wildly diverse song writing aptitude and highly disciplined musicianship. Certainly not to be taken too seriously there is a lot of irreverent humour in the music that is refreshing to hear in this ultra heavy and depressing era of guitar music.
“Gilbert Hotel’’ is a collection of Gilbert’s acoustic workouts that show that he’s as comfortable on acoustic guitar as he is on electric. Ten tracks of pure American acoustic Rock which are a delight to listen to.
Fans of guitar heroes, fans of Melodic Rock and most importantly good music fans should endeavour to source this one as its quirky, fun and effortlessly listenable. (Online April 15, 2004)