Since more than 35 years you couldn’t imagine Rock music without Britain’s Steve Howe, he released albums with bands such as YES, ASIA and GTR among others and he can look back on more than ten solo albums that should have influenced countless aspiring guitarists. This will also be the case with his latest epic “Spectrum”, and those who are into sophisticated and highly technical guitar music should be utterly satisfied here.
Steve Howe combines the most diverse influences, he unites Rock, world music, Country, Blues, Latin, Asian and Classical music and knows perfectly how to combine the different sounds in a single song. Progressive fuddling meets summery lightness and should excite fans of this complicated music. For me this kind of music often is just too hard to comprehend, and risking that I will once again be attacked by vicious e-mails, I can hardly get into this music. Of course I do highly respect the skills of this undisputed master of the guitar and his good sense for flawless string witchery, yet it is just too much after the album’s first half. Maybe I am just a headbanger that is attuned to brutish Metal and does not want to understand this kind of music. Who is supposed to know exactly what is the case?
If I want my music to be progressive, I rather take the discs by PSYCHOTIC WALTZ, DREAM THEATER, DEAD SOUL TRIBE, THE MARS VOLTA or COHEED AND CAMBRIA from the shelf and indulge in the technical overkill. Well, whatever, guitar freaks should know Steve Howe anyway and will scream with pleasure when listening to “Spectrum” and will not remove this disc from the CD player for days, weeks or even months. And that’s the way it is supposed to be. (Online December 25, 2005)