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Sammy Boller – Kingdom of the Sun Award winner

Sammy Boller
Kingdom of the Sun
by Mike McMahan at 07 April 2020, 7:04 PM

Coming to us from Rock City, Detroit, Michigan, is SAMMY BOLLER with his debut instrumental album “Kingdom of the Sun.” It is a safe bet that when you are declared winner of the Guitar World “Master Satriani” contest (by Joe Satriani) in 2012, you are probably quite the badass. In this particular case, that certainly holds true, as Sammy’s guitar work on this release is nothing short of phenomenal. His style really defies description; he is fast, accurate, and melodically on point on every song contained on this thirty-five minute guitar journey.

A long-time veteran of Wind-Up RecordsCITIZEN ZERO, whose “Go (Let Me Save You)” peaked at number 17 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Charts in 2016, he is also a fantastic song craftsman, musically speaking.  His work on this release is tightly wound and as exciting as anything I have heard in an instrumental album in ages.

The title track, “Kingdom of the Sun, opens things up here, and from the tapped intro licks forward, you get a pretty good idea that you are indeed in for something special. Backed on this track (very well, I might add) by fellow CITIZEN ZERO bandmates and brothers John and Greg Dudley, Boller switches from taps to sweeping picked arpeggios fluidly, creating a memorable tapestry of music; parts of which bring to mind Satriani himself. The track is full of fire, and a perfect opener.

“Cloak of Light, another very memorable piece, has a softer, slower feel to it. The guitar work on the song further displays Boller’s melodic sensibility, showing variations between the main theme and some truly blazing speed. He exhibits, in places, all the feel and flash of Eric Johnson or Jeff Beck, while retaining the metallic edge of some of Steve Vai’s fierier moments from his early “gunslinger” days with the likes of ALCATRAZZ. A fine example of this is the song “For Madmen Only,” with its speedy interludes and harmonized leads. “Dark Night of the Soul” is another fantastic example.

As a fan of well-played guitar instrumentals, I couldn’t be more excited about this release. I have heard the future of great Heavy Rock Guitar, and it is in the hands of Sammy Boller.

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

5 Star Rating

1. Kingdom of the Sun
2. Sunrise/Sunset
3. Cloak of Light
4. Iolite
5. For Madmen Only
6. Dark Night of the Soul
7. Illusions
8. The Empress
9. Temple of Time
10. Mirror of the Heart
11. Awakening From a Daydream
Sammy Boller – Guitars
Steve LeHane – Bass (Tracks 2-6, 8, 10-11)/ Synth (Tracks 2, 4, 6, 8)
Dylan Walsh – Drums (Tracks 2-6, 8, 10-11)
Greg Dudley – Bass (Track 1)
John Dudley – Drums (Track 1)
Record Label: Candyrat Records


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Edited 26 May 2020

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