Review Summary: Astounding creativity and the culmination of decades of guitar wizardry make Andy James’ latest offering an instant classic.
Andy James, one of the world’s most proficient solo guitarists, has long been overlooked by the masses. Despite now having a fairly sizeable following, he still remains quite underground in comparison to many other related artists. Due to the difficulty of sustaining a living as a musician in such a niche market, it comes as no surprise that Andy has found other sources of income through collaboration, being a band member, and by giving guitar lessons. Nonetheless, Andy’s talent has been widely recognized by the guitar community and the man has received quite a few heavy endorsements, allowing him to continue producing his own music.
It may seem doubtful that an album written and produced in just a year would live up to the likes of his Psychic Transfusion EP and self-titled LP, especially given that the successor to the latter (‘Exodus’) came out 6 years later and was lackluster by comparison, but ‘Arrival’ absolutely does. With a newfound sense of melody and incredibly dynamic passages, tones, and techniques throughout its entirety, ‘Arrival’ is a firm indication that Andy has carefully and masterfully written a record that is as enjoyable as it is impressive. Nothing becomes repetitive, nothing feels out of place, the shredding sections of which there are many are exceptionally tasteful, and every chorus elevates its respective track to the point of musical ecstasy. Suffice to say, anyone who enjoys shredding and/or instrumental metal should find this album extremely pleasurable.
If I could not choose all of the tracks here, I would pick the following as personal favorites:
’85, As I Fall, Droneoid, A Plan for Us, Shattered and Broken