Steve Senes (or if you want to find him on Youtube, noisenet) is the multi talented self taught guitarist who seems to have snuck in under the radar and caught quite a few people by surprise. He’s also very annoying. Why? Because when I should have been writing this damned review, I picked up my RG270 and started to groove along to Greaseball. If it escalates to the RG350DX and beyond, Steve, you’re in trouble! Instrumental albums appeal to a very selective audience, a very fickle audience, but Steve’s “dE-eVolution oF thEorY” (Steve, now you’re just taunting us aren’t you, I have to reach for the shift key with my little finger to type that) is a fantastic debut solo album.
I’m a fan of Satriani, Tremonti, Johnson, Knopfler, Meldrum, Petrucci, Gilbert and so on (the list as you can imagine is very long and extensive). I am not a fan of the likes of Malmsteen. This may come as a shock, but speed freaks like Dragonforce don’t impress me, and Malmsteen’s fret blistering solos left me cold. Senes doesn’t have the same effect, but a huge thank you goes out to Yngwie for inspiring that 15 year old to pick up a guitar. The joy of Senes’ playing is that it’s eclectic, all encompassing, with “Swami” being a deceptively quiet but ominous start, before a granite slab of a guitar riff drops in. The solo work over the top is sublime, very “Satch” like, never ridiculously over powering.
The aforementioned “Greaseball”, love it. Awesome groove to it that yields to some beautiful melodic lead guitar work, and then jumping right back to that delicious groove. A very finely balanced song indeed that has your head nodding in approval. And just when you think you’ve seen all that Senes is capable of, “Ruth”. Quite simply a beautiful song. If I were to get a chance to interview this guy, I think I would have to ask about who/what inspired this track because it feels as though there might be a real story behind it.
“Highball” has a twisted little Tubular Bells type intro which I’m not convinced adds anything to the song and at first actually put me off it, but then he pulls it out of the bag 52 seconds in with an awesome little rhythm blast that sets the scene for a track that progresses nicely. Then we hit the only real genuine annoyance that I have. Track 6, “Cop Show”. The title says it all, it’s aptly named, and we demand a TV show be created especially just for this song, but sirens in a song. Why does this annoy me? I listen to a lot of CD’s in my car, and on the way to work I have to pass a very large Hospital, and then a Fire Station. It’s not a musical annoyance, it’s a personal one, so I’m sure many of you will forgive him for that.
“Facecheck” picks up the pace, out and out rock with a minimalist vicious riff, wailing lead guitar work, it’s fast paced, and reminded me a little of Satch’s “I Wanna Rock”. “High & Mighty” has one of those intro solos that you just want to go into a music shop, pull “an axe” off the wall, let rip, stop, sniff a little, put back, nod approval, and then drift through the rest of the shop nonchalantly.
“Colossus” has a definite Vai/Satriani tint to it, in fact if this was on one of their albums, I’m not sure if I could spot it as being by someone else. That’s something of a double edged comment I know, on the one hand, I’d like to see Senes stand out a bit more, but on the other hand, anybody that can sound so good to be confused with Vai or Satch has got some outstanding skill. “Angel” is a lovely little baroque interlude of a song. Very well placed in the running order to give you a chance to catch your breath from Colossus. Jam Bomb has a tinny intro that again I’m not a huge fan of, but when the main rhythm guitars kick in, the wall of noise is devastating! “Mare Tranquillitatis” and “The Afterglow” bring a nice soothing end to Senes’ 12 track impressive masterpiece. It’s a fine polished performance, and hopefully it’ll shout loud enough amongst the crowds to get your attention.