Review Summary: A solid psychedelic/hard rock album overall but have Three Seasons grown?
If you're going to sound like one of the greatest guitarists of all time you’d better do it well because the line between ridicule and apotheosis is a very fine one. Three Seasons’ guitarist Sartez Faraj, consciously or not, reminds a lot of Ritchie Blackmore. This is not apparent from the beginning of the first track of the band’s latest effort that pays respect to the psychedelic scene of the late ‘60s. However, somewhere around the five minute mark, the guitar solo sounds very familiar to Deep Purple connoisseurs. As you’ve probably figured out by now, Grow
is part of the vintage rock scene that is booming in recent years.
Three Seasons is a three piece act hailing from Sweden which seems to be one of the most reliable sources of vintage rock since The Hellacopters probably. Coming back to the discussion about influences, it really depends how one incorporates them to his playing in order to form his/her unique identity. Generally speaking, being heavily influenced by a legend is by no account a bad thing. Sartez Faraj has read and memorized the Ritchie Blackmore book of guitar soloing and added his own personal touch. However, you should not expect Mark II Deep Purple soloing as found in In Rock
or Made in Japan
. Three Seasons’ guitarist is more reminiscent of Blackmore’s work on Mk. III Deep Purple on which Blackmore was less wild, more restrained and mellower.
As a result, the middle parts of most tracks on Grow
feature an emotional and bluesy guitar solo with hammer-on’s and vibrato that will definitely appeal to Blackmore fans. The moments where it is combined with the sounds of Hammond are among the highlights of the album. “Tablas of Bahar” is an instrumental track that sounds as if it was a b-side of Stormbringer
and is easily one of the best instrumental tracks I’ve listened this year. Nevertheless, Three Seasons are much more than a Deep Purple rip off. Leaving guitar solos aside, there are moments were Grow
reminisces legends such as Grand Funk Railroad while Sartez Faraj’s vocal technique especially on “No Shame” or “Familiar Song” brought to my mind Glenn Hughes. In addition, most tracks are five minutes or more with very beautiful instrumental psychedelic/bluesy passages. Therefore, Grow
is definitely more psychedelic/bluesy rather than on the garage side.
Still, not everything is perfect on Grow
. Sartez Faraj has a very good voice but more than once I wondered if the final outcome would have been even better with a more bluesy/emotional singer holding the mic such as a Coverdale clone. In addition, the production is very typical of the vintage rock scene and at times it seems as if everything is at the same volume. Lastly, Grow
doesn’t seem to be a step forward compared to the band’s previous album.
Overall, those of you who are into the rock revival movement will surely find elements that will please you on Grow
. The fact that the band’s guitarist is very comfortable playing Blackmore-reminiscent solos can only be a plus and the mood of the album will certainly appeal to fans of the ‘60s psychedelic/early ‘70s hard rock scene.