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George Tsalikis – Return to Power Award winner

George Tsalikis
Return to Power
by Patrick McMahon at 29 March 2021, 2:33 AM

A man of many talents, GEORGE TSALIKIS is up on the board for review today with his second solo album. Finding time for solo work is a real highlight to creativity and dedication in spite of his work with ZANDELLE, CIRCLE OF 4, MAGUS BEAST, and BLACQUE JACQUE SHELLACQUE. We find a solo album five years following his (solo) debut, which was filled with all the vampire vibes and a clear creative edge. With his signature blend of masterful and anthemic vocals strewn over driven power metal, lets dive in!

“Live To Ride” is the first track of the album. Right out of the gate, lead guitar defines a very melodic track. Quick and precise, the musical elements build their traditional metal soundscape as the vocals make their signature move. It is very apparent which elements are chosen to drive the writing process, although our solo artist is also the driving force of the instrumentals as well. The track keeps up a break neck pace from front to back and drives the energy high for the rest of this album. “Dehumanized” begins with a slow and pounding energy, as well as fantastical melodic lead guitar again. The melody is a driving riff through this song, and compliments the vocals in a very active way. Chugging rhythms in different segments provide a powerful floor for this track to soar over. “In Memory” begins somber, with the keys playing a beautiful introduction to the rest of the metal backing. The rhythm guitar after the introduction is intermittently palm muted and comes across THICK, which brings definition to maybe the most memorable riff of the album. The track moves through phases however, providing both biting power metal and ballad like resonant beauty. This all together easily makes it my favorite of this album, I’m a sucker for the metal / ballad blend. “The Dragon Has Fallen” brings the album to a close with a powerhouse. Clear and bright guitar are sporadic and build a strong beginning to the verse of the track. Slowly we pick up distortion and drive as the track moves into the chorus. The drum fills in this track are extremely strong and deserve to be noted, strong evidence that bringing another musician in to the fray was a fantastic idea. The vocal register across all of the tracks paint a fantastic picture of versatility and dedication to the metal craft.

The promo sheet for this album begins with a solid “Who doesn’t know George Tsalikis?”. I would go for a solid “If you didn’t know, now you know!”. This album is a fantastic offering overall, dripping top to bottom in high production value, groove, and drive. I wouldn’t change a thing about it. I would even comment highly on the real cohesion of all the tracks and elements, but it seems a little more straight forward to highlight the great elements when it’s a “solo” project. As a straightforward master of the vocal craft, GEORGE TSALIKIS provides the color by numbers instruction for big vocal metal. Go check this one out for sure!

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Live To Ride
2. The Chase
3. Dehumanized
4. Burden Of Proof
5. Together We Rise
6. Stand My Ground
7. In Memory
8. The Demon Barber
9. Master Of The Sky
10. The Dragon Has Fallen
Lineup:
George Tsalikis – Vocals/Guitar/Bass/Keys
Joe “Jofu” Cardillo - Drums
Record Label: Pure Steel Records
     


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Edited 21 October 2021
 

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