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Michael Rozich - The Beginning

Michael Rozich
The Beginning
by Andrew Sifari at 06 April 2014, 12:32 AM

Today’s Metal musicians are pushing the envelope in terms of speed and technicality like never before. But, just as some records can be terrible due to their lacking musical performances, sometimes bands go overboard with the fret board gymnastics, blast beats, and 7-string bass guitars and make music so complicated it is just unlistenable. On his independently recorded solo EP “The Beginning”, Michigan guitarist MICHAEL ROZICH manages to find a decent balance between shred and song.

Each track is an instrumental, featuring complicated progressive guitar and bass playing and odd time signatures, as well as synth effects and a variety of guitar tones. The latter is a nice touch, mixing things up between tracks as well as within tracks, while the synths are very much a love-it-or-hate-it proposition. Each of the six songs showcases Rozich’s impressive instrumental prowess, starting with “Interval”. The cascade of opening guitars and drums slowly builds up before giving way to a jolting lead section, keeping this sort of up-and-down feeling throughout the entire song. While Rozich’s playing is strong, displaying a great technique and choice of notes, this song feels a bit disjointed, more a collection of dexterous musical parts that happen to fit together than an actual, cohesive song. It just never really feels like it’s going anywhere, more random than unpredictable.

“Mirror Transference” fares a bit better in this regard, as the flow between sections of the song feels more natural, and is more fully realized overall. The exotic scale runs and warp-speed picking return in full force here after a slow beginning, accompanied by some interesting atmospheric effects and prominent keyboard parts. The latter is hit or miss for the band on this track, with as many good moments as moments where the keyboards could/should have been removed completely, but overall it is pretty solid. “Mr. Smiley” is a mid-tempo number that replaces some of the more unusual beats and drum parts with a focus on melody, though there is plenty of guitar excess here as well. It is one of the more accessible tracks on the EP, though the synth sounds before the bass lick close to the 2:30 mark are a little grating, and features some catchy leads and riffs.

“Nevaeh’s Revenge” is another decent offering, with an interesting mix of guitar parts and sounds. It definitely has more “flow” than the first song, and, not surprisingly, is much more memorable. The slow section around the 2:43 mark is quite good with its acoustic guitar and tasteful rhythm parts. Its followed by another unnecessary synth section before thankfully transitioning into a more guitar focused part, ending the song on a high note. The last two tracks, “Dead City” and “The Line”, take very similar approaches with similarly satisfying results, with the tasteful soloing on the latter song among the EP’s best moments.

“The Beginning” is a decent work of challenging, progressive metal, though it lacks a sense of excitement and flow. Rozich’s playing is tasteful, and by no means robotic, but for all his virtuosity there are only a small amount of truly inspired, memorable moments to keep the listener drawn in. An entertaining release, I would recommend this to fans of Progressive Rock / Metal, though it is hardly the most entertaining recording of its kind. 

2 Star Rating

1. Interval
2. Mirror Transference
3. Mr. Smiley
4. Nevaeh’s Revenge
5. Dead City
6. The Line
Michael Rozich – Guitars / Percussion / Bass / Synths / Effects
Record Label: Independent


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