Wednesday, 25th April 2018. 8:48:49am ET
Reviews CD Reviews Alternative, Indie Rock Christopher- Smoke and Origination


ARTIST: Christopher

ALBUM: Smoke and Origination

LABEL: Self-released

REVIEWER: Matthew J.

DATE: 7-4-07

The latest release from Canadian solo artist Christopher is perhaps the classically-trained guitarist's most ambitious work yet, blending an anthemic approach to progressive rock with the dark romance of gothic metal and even the exotic instrumentation of Dead Can Dance. As one would hope, the production and arrangements are exquisite. Though Christopher wrote the entire album in a single key and based each song on motifs from Bach, there's an astounding variety of styles on display, from Turkish-influenced desert soundscapes on "Spaghetti Terrorist" to modern, anthemic power ballads like "Frailty Scan." Things do get a bit showy on arena rockers like "Sharp Knives" and "The Wraith's Progress," but if you had guitar chops like these you'd want to show them off, too. Where this album fails, unfortunately, is in the vocal department. At his best, Christopher can approach the melodramatic but technically impressive operatics of Queensryche's Geoff Tate, but all too often his style comes closer to the overwrought pretensions of Creed's Scott Stapp, with "This Is Your Plague" serving as a particularly egregious example. Still, the theatrical power of this album is impressive, all the more so because it's a solo effort, and Christopher manages to blend the dark romance of groups like HIM with the ethnic pop styling of Dead Can Dance in an entirely new way. It's not a complete success by any stretch of the imagination, but the epic stature of this album is admirable in and of itself.

Visit www.christopher.mu for song samples and other information.


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