By Kat DaVille
When you initially look at Angel Vivaldi, you might doubt that he is among best lyrical guitar players EVER. How can this unassuming, happy-go-lucky, confusingly pretty young man perform in the same stratosphere as melodic guitarists like Eric Johnson or, dare I say it, Steve Vai? His modest nature is part of his charm and his performances are equally as surprising.
The Vivaldi machine is certainly a force to be reckoned with. Since his albums are without words, his most current work, Universal Language, reveals with the utmost sincerity that music speaks more boldly and honestly where words fail. He produces these concepts with expert precision, from his finger dexterity to time keeping technique. Metal acts like this are few and far between. I enjoyed how he incorporated industrial beats into certain songs like “A Mercurian Summer.” Other tunes like “A Martian Winter” possess similar qualities – each phrasing the guitar creates paints the backdrop of an icy scene to where you can feel the cold filling your lungs… Rarely has a band prompted me to see in colors. Thanks for that, Angel.
Above everything else, what I admire most is Angel’s ability to treat the guitar as the 5th band member. His albums bare no words; there’s no lyricist or singer or poet. His guitar fills that void. It’s almost as if it takes a life of its own, emerging from the depths of torrid times and expressing amazing stories unable to be vocalized with mere words. Every phrase cries and screams while every note demands you to listen.
Obviously, a solo artist needs support. The musicians on this album are equally as impressive – in other words, they make Angel look and sound better than ever. The band is so unbelievably tight and they compliment the lead guitar voicing so well that I’m certain metal-heads everywhere will be satisfied headbanging to these technical grooves. The rhythm guitarist supports the melodies accurately and with great skill while the bass glues everything together (I promise, the bass player needs more love in every band). The drummer is in a league of his own as he compliments the melodic stylings of the primary guitarist with razor-like precision.
I’m happy that musicians like Angel Vivaldi and his mates create metal that is technically advanced and outside the box. However, it’s still enjoyable to an average individual who might not consider metal as their primary taste in music. It’s refreshing to meet technically advanced players who simply love to play. They write their songs in ways that make THEM happy. They play to THEIR own style and THEIR own groove. They perform every song THEIR way. That, my friends, is true artistry. Thank you, Angel, for showing us the Universal Language.