Metal is usually a collective endeavour, bands of musicians grouping together to achieve their melodic dreams. However every so often an individual talent is luminescent enough to lift itself above musical prerequisites and star on their own. Appreciation of talent and versatility is a central tenant of being part of the Tech scene, so it only natural that TechFest play host to some preternaturally talented solo artists. They may play alone, but their here together, large as life and twice as pretty, in todays exciting edition of CDTTF.
Some people are so prolific it hurts and this can certainly be said of Baltimore native, Roi d'cover, all round Good Egg, the Heroic Djent Pixie himself; Drewsif Stalin. One need look no further than his bandcamp page to be amazed by both the number and quality of his proliferative talent. Both original compositions and covers flow from the fecund mind of this unsung musical colossus, the most renowned being his insatiably catchy cover of the Miley Cyrus song Wrecking Ball. In 3 minutes he turned this song which used to leave me in need of palliative hospital care into one of my favourite pieces of music. Now this is an exemplar of skill beyond the need for providence if ever there was one.
All this and he has a truly loveable face. What a Guy!
Felix Martin, a left-handed, Venezuelan-born guitar prodigy who moved to America after winning a scholarship to attend the prestigious Berklee School of Music. Instead of merely adding an extra string to his instrument, though, Martin took things several steps further and added an entire second set of strings. His self-designed 14-string custom guitar features two seven-string guitars on one wide neck which allows him to play both guitars simultaneously, allowing for his unique system of techniques including eight-fingered chords and slap-tapping techniques.
Soon after signing with Prosthetic in 2012 and releasing the live album “Live in Boston” — hailed by Noisecreep as “a masterclass in forward-thinking guitar” — MARTIN embarked on his first-ever American tour following a successful seven-week tour throughout Europe. Earlier this year, the Venezuelan innovator was seen performing at the annual NAMM Convention in Southern California at the booth of Seymour Duncan pickups, who praised his “incredible level of skill, musicality, dexterity and dedication.”
On his sophomore studio recording "The Scenic Album" — which features fellow Berklee alumnus Nathan Navarro on bass and drummer extraordinaire Marco Minnemann (Necrophagist) — Martin plays an eclectic, exhilarating hybrid of instrumental prog-metal, jazz and fusion. Clearly, sometimes it's better to be strung out, highly strung and picked first.
In this world there are 2 types of people; troglodytic cave dwellers and those who have seen & fallen in love with Jon Gomms sensational Youtube videos. Ever since Stephen Fry tweeted his unending love for the PassionFlower video it has amassed over 6 million views and garnered this true gentleman of music a legion of dedicated fans.
Playing not just the strings of the guitar but the whole thing; tuning and retuning within songs, all the while embracing the polyrhythmic expression of musical gusto that is TechMetal, Jon Gomm leaves no stone unturned in his search for ever more delectable phrasing.
Jon Gomm has rejected mainstream music industry values and practices and avoids playing chain venues and corporate festivals. His appearances are generally organised with independent promoters in venues like real ale pubs in rural areas, theatres or arts centres. So as well as being annoyingly brilliant he is both intelligent and socially aware. I would hate him for his accumulated brilliance and studious, principled politics, but he's so good I just can't.
I wish I could write a tenth as well as these guys can play, but then again we are all entitled to our dreams, no matter how wan and forlorn is the hope that dwells within them. Better Luck Tomorrow.
– John Whitmore