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Slang - Turbo Soul

Slang
Turbo Soul
by Mike McMahan at 06 June 2021, 7:38 PM

Steve Lang, in the simplest, most basic, terminology, can only be described as an incredible musician. He is a Canadian multi-instrumentalist (primarily a guitarist), writer, technician, producer and composer. A man of many hats, with an obvious aptitude for all. SLANG’S “Turbo Soul” marks the musician’s eleventh solo effort and is augmented with several guest appearances from equally impressive friends and cohorts in crime. The album itself covers a multitude of genres, from straight forward Metal to Blues, Funk and Cinematic Fusion. Lang’s ability, musically speaking, immediately puts me in mind of the exceptional German musician and vocalist Milan Polak, although his songwriting is not as strong as Polak’s later works and seems more “groove” based than it does song based.

The opening track on the album is the decidedly Metal flare of “Forged From Metal”. The song is a perfectly fine instrumental, which changes gears a couple of times within its realm and showcases various guitar stylings throughout its duration. The track also features some nifty keyboard work from Lang, augmenting his already impressive guitar spots. All in all, it feels almost like it could be a chase scene theme from some action film franchise, or possibly more at home in the confines of a video game. I’m certainly not saying that the song is in any way “generic” or dull. Nothing could be further from the truth. The musical levels put forth here are extraordinary, although, by the time we get through five and a half minutes, we have certainly gotten the point.

Perhaps the more interesting song, in my eyes, is the second cut, “Powerhouse”. This song features a guitar line which recalled Fusion God Al DiMeola. It is an impressive piece, indeed, restoring my faith that there is still great Fusion being played today.

At a bit over three and a half minutes into the Blues fueled track “Trouble Maker”, there is a decided mood change, resulting in one of the most beautiful segments I have heard in a long time. I like the break here better than I did most of the remainder of the song, which, again, goes a little long and led to a loss of interest for me. Misaki, vocalist for the Tokyo based GURISLAMER, adds a vocal (as she does later on “Rock On”) on the track, seemingly used more for texture and depth than anything else.

The musicianship on this record is phenomenal and simply beyond reproach. Having said that, some of it has an almost mechanical feel, and the length of the lion’s share of the songs presents a problem. All in all, it is an impressive effort, but only the hardcore Progressive and Fusion fans are likely to hang out for the duration.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 7
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Forged From Metal
2. Powerhouse
3. Trouble Maker
4. Road Rocket
5. Hammerhead Shark
6. Edge Of The Sea
7. Rock On
8. Ignite The Night
9. Far Away
10. Values And Beliefs
Lineup:
Steve Lang (aka SLANG) – Electric and Classical Guitars, Bass, Keyboards, Drum Programming
Kaoru Sakaguchi Paschal – Bass Guitar (“Hammerhead Shark”)
Junya Ota – Keyboards (“Hammerhead Shark”)
Misaki – Vocals (“Trouble Maker” and “Rock On”)
Kay-Ta Matsuno – Guitar Solo (“Road Rocket” and “Hammerhead Shark”)
Record Label: Independent
     


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