I’m a huge fan of Graham Greene’s work, and a new release from him is always a special event as far as I’m concerned. ‘The Guitar Vinci Code’ is no exception, but even as a fan, I had to pretty much pick my jaw up off the floor after listening to this EP.
Greene’s previous album, ‘Down Devils Road’, was a show of force: it dipped into various musical genres, and it was an album full of emotion. (‘Through the Dark’ from that album actually makes me weep.) ‘The Guitar Vinci Code’ is something quite different, and though it’s early days – I’ve only listened to this EP half a dozen times, and Greene’s back-catalogue is both rich and varied – I believe ‘The Guitar Vinci Code’ might just be his best creation, ever.
Like all of Greene’s music, these tunes conjure up vivid and evocative images in my mind as I listen to them, telling stories made up of riffs and guitar-solos, melodies and rhythm, capturing and conveying emotion, place, and mood without a word.
While each track has its own flavour, Greene sticks rather strictly to a singular musical theme on ‘The Guitar Vinci Code’, with all the tunes fitting into the instrumental, symphonic metal / rock genre. There are also strong eastern and Celtic vibes throughout, adding to the lushness of the music, and the end result is a collection of tunes that feels rich, vibrant, and polished like a treasure trove of precious stones.
Every track here is a gem. ‘Flight of the Kelpies’ with its strong Celtic heartbeat is like an exhilarating fantasy tale playing out beneath a moonlit sky, symphonic and glistening, and breathtakingly beautiful. It’s a strong opener for the EP, and is followed by what is perhaps my favourite tune here: ‘Raven’s Eye pt.2’ – a sequel to, you guessed it, ‘Raven’s Eye Pt.1’ from ‘Leap Of Face’. I went back and listened to part 1, and this is definitely a worthy follow-up and kindred spirit to its predecessor. The guitar that sets off the track is spectacular, and the tune just soars and flies from the first note to the last.
The title track, ‘The Guitar Vinci Code’, has a darker vibe and a dramatic, heart-racing pulse of its own: Greene’s guitar-work on this tune sends shivers up and down my spine.
On the next two tracks, Greene delves into eastern sounds and rhythms. ‘Petra’ is a masterful piece of symphonic metal, all eastern sway and swagger, invoking hot deserts, soaring cliffs, and vast landscapes of sky and earth. Next up, ‘The Odd Dervish’ starts off with a gong, and proceeds with a slow beat and a rhythm of chants and hand-drums: it’s a sensual, stunning tune and another favourite of mine.
The EP closes with ‘Trail of Dreams’ – an ethereal and layered work that feels like a home-coming and a tying together of musical threads – I’d say more, but instead I’ll just quote Greene himself from the recent interview I did with him for Rock And Roll:
“The closing track was a challenge, inasmuch as it was in three distinct movements with slightly different instrumentation, and needed to develop in a smooth arc, much like a good story. I approached the guitar solos differently in each section while maintaining a common thread and allowing the guitar to interact with the other instruments, which on this track included strings, horns and woodwinds as well as drums, bass and keys.”
‘The Guitar Vinci Code’ is an exquisitely crafted masterpiece. It’s six tales told through music, transporting you somewhere else entirely. If you’re already a fan of Greene’s work, you will love it. If you’re not yet a fan, this EP is the perfect introduction to the magic of the Guitar Shaman from Oz.
- Flight of the Kelpies
- Raven’s Eye Pt.2
- The Guitar Vinci Code
- The Odd Dervish
- Trail of Dreams