Ashley Cook - _Ashley Cook_
by: Brian Meloon (2 out of 5)
Ashley Cook is the man behind Below [CoC #28], but although this demo features exactly the same line-up (namely, just Ashley), the music is completely different from Below's. Instead of complex thrash, it's similar to the mid-to-late-'80s instrumental guitar hero albums of Joe Satriani (especially on the first track, "Scald") and Lars Eric Mattsson. The songs are slow-to-mid paced and the melodies are oddly memorable. As with many guitarists' solo projects, the guitars are the exclusive focus of the songs. While the drum programming is decent, it doesn't do anything to stand out. I couldn't hear any bass at all, and there were very few keyboards used. Given the relative lack of dynamics in the solos, this leaves the demo sounding a little one-dimensional, which is my main complaint with this offering. Technically speaking, it's very good: the playing is solid -- aside from some awkward phrasing in the solos -- and the production (all of which was done by Ashley in his own studio) is quite good. But I sometimes felt that the songs (especially "Why I Like Spiders") weren't intended to be anything more than vehicles for soloing. A little more focus on dynamics or depth in the arrangements would help a lot. The acoustic guitar and harmonized lead parts are a good start, but more variety is needed. Overall, this isn't a bad offering, but it isn't something I expect to listen to regularly.


(article published 30/10/2003)

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