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Marc Leach | ‘Hail To The Geeks’

If there’s one form of music that’s largely had its heyday, it’s instrumental rock guitar.

The problem for emerging players is that anything short of jaw dropping talent combined with expressive songwriting skill just wont cut it anymore.

The bar’s now set at around about the level of Guthrie Govan for people to even take notice of you. It’s a bar that’s far too high for most.

Many from the Northern Irish rock scene will know or recognize snapper Marc Leach from gigs. Turns out he’s also got quite a thing for he classic instrumental hard rock of the 80s, and ‘Hail To The Geeks’ is his latest effort.

It’s exactly what you’d expect: lashings of influences from Joe Satriani circa ‘Not Of This Earth’ and the ‘Dreaming #11’ EP (with an eerily similar lead tone on occasion there – well done) and to a much lesser extent Steve Vai from around ‘Passion & Warfare’.

Though the effort is commendable, and the production thick, it suffers from the flaw I outlined at the start: that basically you have to be fantastically brilliant at guitar to cut through. Entry level tapping and staple hard rock 4/4 riffing just isn’t enough.

Let’s look at the good points. ‘Voices’ is a nice clean tapped number that’s atmospheric and tonally rich, summoning even Mike Oldfield at points with a lovely synth in the background.

Highlight ‘Fly Falkor Fly’ is by far and away the best, with a full-on Satch worship tone. Very good.

Yet the skill gap remains. There are no legato runs, no sweeps to marvel at, no string skipping pyrotechnics, and little by way of subtlety.

There are also serious issues with tuning and note choice which should have been addressed – the bends in ‘Free As One’ are just plain out of tune, while the wails at the end just sound poorly chosen, note wise.

So I commend the effort. Anyone playing music that sounds like early Satch is good in my book. But solo rock guitar is an unforgiving genre, in which only the very best thrive.

Anyone else just doesn’t have a chance.

Earl Grey ::: 19/06/17
Photo by Liam Kielt

  1. I know it’s not the most original thing ever, but the rock riff he’s got going in “Free as One” instantly made me think of Hammers of Misfortune’s “Dead Revolution”…

  2. Anonymous Says:

    It seems be a post ironically self aware power metal soundtrack for a game that doesn’t exist.

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