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Milan Polak – Can’t Please Everyone Award winner

Milan Polak
Can’t Please Everyone
by Mike McMahan at 23 June 2020, 5:04 PM

I’m not sure where to begin. I am a guitarist, and an avid follower of guitarists as varied and diverse as Steve Vai, all the way to Chet Atkins. I have heard the name MILAN POLAK bandied about for years now; mentioned with the same reverence people use when speaking of Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, and Eric Johnson, but I have remained somewhat a non-believer. I have heard some of the early works, snippets, really; and figured this guy to be another ultra-technical, very fast, and completely soulless slinger of tired shred. For that, I should be beaten and forced to apologize to MILAN on bended knee. The man is amazing, and his fourth vocal release, “Can’t Please Everyone, out May 10, 2020, is proof positive for me.

This record runs along a thin barrier between the ultra-technical, speed demon fodder I spoke of, and all out feel and emotion pouring from a musician’s instrument. It doesn’t hurt matters that POLAK has assembled a veritable Murderer’s Row of guest musicians to run assists for this release. When I sat down for my first listen, I did so very apprehensively. When I cleared my mind after that listen, I had gained an incredible amount of respect for this guitarist, both as a musician and as a songwriter.

“Unborn, an instrumental piece a little over a minute in length, opens the album. It blends a classical acoustic feel with some amazing electric soloing. This was the first time I had truly listened to POLAK, and the simple beauty of the piece really took me by surprise. “Numb” follows, with its dark lyrical stand on the ending of relationships and fantastic vocal work, not to mention the incredible guitar work involved. Thomas Lang has a very good spot behind the drum kit for this one, as well. The album’s third song, “The Future Is Now, features both Billy Sheehan and Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal, from the stellar and instantly legendary SONS OF APOLLO. This is an all-out, balls deep rocker, on which Sheehan is surprisingly subdued; allowing the pyrotechnics to come from Milan and Thal.

There are highlights in high number on this record, and if you are a fan (and/or player) of Metal/Hard Rock guitar, this should be required listening. I’m a believer. Incredible work.

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

5 Star Rating

1. Unborn
2. Numb
3. The Future Is Now
4. Can’t Please Everyone
5. New Life
6. Savior
7. Enemy Within
8. No One Else
9. Father
10. Heroes Die Young
11. Better Man
12. Can’t Let You Go
Milan Polak – Vocals, Guitars, Bass (except where noted below)

Billy Sheehan – Bass (Track 3)
Thomas Lang – Drums (Track 2)
Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal – Second Guitar Solo (Track 3)
Dennis Leeflang – Drums (Tracks 3,4,5,7,8,9,10)
Atma Anur – Drums (Track 6)
Abel Sequera – Drums (Track 11)
Tony Franklin – Fretless Bass (Track 12)
Jeff Neal – Drums (Track 12)
Mistheria – Piano (Track 12)
Record Label: Lion Music


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Edited 31 March 2023

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