Felix Martin
The Scenic Album


4.0
excellent

Review

by Jacob R. STAFF
August 30th, 2013 | 27 replies | 8,996 views


Release Date: 09/17/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Viroliano tries world domination -- and does surprisingly well for himself

If progressive metal has a bad reputation, Felix Martin isn’t aware of it-- and something tells me he isn’t particularly irked. The Venezuelan guitarist makes one of the most overwrought genres sound natural and digestible as ever, and through nothing more than ambitious-- but logical-- songwriting.

The Scenic Album is dense and comprehensive, harboring the breed of power that guitarists like Tosin Abasi and Chris Letchford have been swiping at for quite some now. Not to say Felix Martin has outperformed his peers-- his style is more an amalgam of his favorites, and is lacking its own definitive edge-- but for the man’s debut release, The Scenic Album is quite the accomplishment. A glance at the album’s tracklist reveals Martin’s stylistic ambition; the three-part series of “Viroliano Tries Prog,” “Viroliano Tries Jazz” and “Viroliano Tries Metal” says enough on that front. To be fair, though, those song titles give the wrong impression of The Scenic Album. While it is chock-full of different genres, they function as cards he plays throughout the album’s runtime, not bells and whistles he throws in for novelty’s sake. While “Viroliano Tries Metal” is as brutish as expected, the track still blends in with The Scenic Album’s overall aesthetic, camouflaging itself amongst the other behemoths on this record. “High Spirit” begins by exploring progressive metal in a way Animals As Leaders once did, and “Triangle Tune” is both complex and affecting-- it wouldn’t even surprise me if, in an alternate universe, the track were placed on a more caffeine-laced copy of the latest Scale the Summit record. The song conveys emotional substance in such an instrumentally industrious way, toying with dynamics and distinct styles from one moment to the next. But these parts of The Scenic Album overshadow the rest, for they illustrate a picture of Felix Martin himself, not the aggregate parts of his biggest influences.

I can’t say the same for the rest of the record; The Scenic Album is awe-inspiring, but not particularly innovative. Of course, this isn’t much of an issue-- all music is inspired by the music before it, and so forth-- but I do look forward to when Felix Martin finds a more distinctive voice to present in the future. The record is already promising on so many fronts, namely that it’s musically mountainous without being overbearing. This is the case because it’s Martin, doing what he loves and with the help of his friends. If he’d thought up a pretentious band name and chosen an off-the-mark art style for this record, well, I wouldn’t have been surprised. It simply would have created a more amusing release than a memorable one. But because the album cover is nothing more than Felix with his custom 14-string guitar, and because the contained music is nothing more than a collection of songs that aesthetically speak for themselves, I can’t help but be fascinated with The Scenic Album. It’s entertaining, sleek and unique, but more importantly, it’s an immensely solid record from a man who’s bound to blow up the prog-metal scene someday soon.



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user ratings (20)
Chart.
3.4
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Omaha
Staff Reviewer
August 30th 2013



10041 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

"Tango" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQYhLPygG90

"High Spirit" (dat intro doe) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0bJv27jmMxA

"Triangle Tune", live - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYrcqtLShsw



Willie
Moderator
August 30th 2013



15898 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7 | Sound Off

Good review. This album was a cool surprise.

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Omaha
Staff Reviewer
August 30th 2013



10041 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Thanks man. Yeah, it's a really fun release, while still being serious when necessary. What are your favorite songs here?

Willie
Moderator
August 30th 2013



15898 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7 | Sound Off

I don't even know. I just throw it on and let it play.

Oneironaut
August 30th 2013



302 Comments


This is the craziest shit I've seen on a guitar in a while!

XingKing
August 31st 2013



10316 Comments


The guitar playing is definitely insane and the guy is a beast but most of the songwriting is just dull as hell. There are brief moments where the songs are fantastic, but the transitions are poor and copy & pasted across songs

ILJ
August 31st 2013



6651 Comments


i watched the first video and he's really fun to watch and he makes Tosin look sort of lame. the impression i got from that song is that this would be a fun listen but little more than that.

i'll have to get this though.

Calc
August 31st 2013



12111 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

The guitar playing is definitely insane and the guy is a beast but most of the songwriting is just dull as hell. [2]



Digging: He Is Legend - Heavy Fruit

Torii
September 1st 2013



810 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

fuck yea venezuela

ikarus
September 3rd 2013



560 Comments


Yeah tosin still writes better music

crowing51
September 5th 2013



3446 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Been following this guy for the past 2 years. His playing is amazing at times. It's just he isn't that good of a creative songwriter. While clearly most great 6-8 string guitarists can't hold a candle to him when it comes to playing a double neck 14 string guitar. The difference is they make more creative music. This is only his first album, so I'm sure he is gonna find his ”style” and creative spot. So many strings, so little time.

Digging: Secret Band - Secret Band

DoctorVelvet
September 15th 2013



113 Comments


I've known about this guy for a couple years now yet the same still holds (and multiple people have mentioned it): his songwriting is poor. There isn't much cohesion to his songs, it's just a bunch of cool phrases pasted together to form a "song". He's a brilliant musician though, and the songwriting doesn't stop me from enjoying his stuff.

Anyway, I've got this preordered and I'm looking forward to hearing the full thing.

MikeC26
September 18th 2013



3169 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Sounds cool. Does Marco Minneman play drums on this?

Gwyn.
September 18th 2013



14988 Comments


I should feel proud that this is from Venezuela but that cover would lead me to believe this is terrible

Digging: diSEMBOWELMENT - Transcendence into the Peripheral

DrGonzo1937
September 18th 2013



5399 Comments


Shit this sounds like a cross between Dillinger and Primus. Gonna have to get on this. Great review.

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
September 18th 2013



20260 Comments


One look at the cover is enough to suggest that this is exactly the kind of guitar album I hate.

Still I might give it a listen, maybe it'll surprise me.

Willie
Moderator
September 18th 2013



15898 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7 | Sound Off

People are complaining about songwriting, but I think this is pretty cool. The description, "Shit this sounds like a cross between Dillinger and Primus," is pretty accurate.

joshuahuntkc
September 18th 2013



1579 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Most of the songs are too long to keep me interested. Some of it is really good but he throws so many ideas, which are no doubt creative, but they don't flow well together. It's kinda a jumbled mess of showing off and trying to be Animals as Leaders with a fancy guitar.

Cipieron
September 18th 2013



3508 Comments


"It's kinda a jumbled mess of showing off and trying to be Animals as Leaders with a fancy guitar."

"There isn't much cohesion to his songs, it's just a bunch of cool phrases pasted together to form a "song""

"It's just he isn't that good of a creative songwriter."


these comments sum it up. dude reminds me of my friend -- he can play guitar like a god, but can't write a song to save his life

wacknizzle
September 18th 2013



12872 Comments


Technically, this is super impressive but it's not very listenable musically or structured cohesively at all; even compared to alot of mathcore bands. Just doesn't do much for me compared to something like John Mclaughlin or Al Di Meola's flamenco work

Digging: Plebeian Grandstand - Lowgazers



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