Being a musician is a constantly challenging task these days. When you consider all the different variables, it can’t be denied that music is a labor of work in our modern times, and when a musician comes out with new music, it is often with the desire of sharing it to the world. And that is the case of today’s protagonist.
There is a lot to unpack when it comes to Hard Rock music: more and more you see this brand of music coming back to the fold, and there are a lot of artists wanting to capture the magic and feel that the great musicians of the 70s and 80s pulled off. Guy Freedom English is no different, but he wants to do it his own way, and his new album, Dark Side of the Rainbow, is a testament to that.
The album itself
Guy Freedom English is a name that is very familiar to MusikHolics, and his progression over the years can be felt with Dark Side of the Rainbow. This is a musician that does and records every single part of his albums, which is of course a tremendous task and higlights how much of a capable artist he truly is. And while it doesn’t guarantee quality, at least it shows commitment to his work.
In general terms, it has to be highlighted that Dark Side of the Rainbow is another step in the right direction for Guy, at least as far as productions go. His early works, while organic and with a lot of gusto, were somewhat lacking in the production side of things, and yes, this record still has that raw feel, but it flows a lot of better and everything sounds a lot clearer and crisper.
For example, the guitar, Guy’s favorite musical instrument, is still at the forefront of the production, but the vocals and the drums are a lot more prominent than in his earlier songs. This is great because it adds to the allure of the album, and it keeps a healthy balance between a clear sound and having that raw Rock ‘N’ Roll feel to it.
Dark Side of the Rainbow also holds that classic Hard Rock feel of the 70s and early 80s, particularly of the Bon Scott-era of AC/DC, which was something that Guy already showed with his album Forged by Fire from 2020. There were claims that his sound had changed a lot from those days, but the right word would be improved: it maintains what made that album good, and it improved what needed to be improved.
The only two negatives, which are mostly down to every listener’s preference, is the lack of variety in the record and how short some songs are. Following the AC/DC template, Guy Freedom English’s music is very riff-based and that is the main focus in many of the tracks here, so that can be a bit of a hassle to people that want a bit more variety in their Rock music. On the other hand, this album also has a bit of Punk in the sense that the songs are actually quite short, which makes the experience of listening to the record very easy to digest in one sitting.
Prelude is an intro for the album, and it gets the job done in terms of presenting the album. It has reminiscent vibes to Iron Maiden’s Ides of March in some areas, and it has a very epic feel that jumps to the title track, which is one of the strongest songs in the album with a very strong riff and general guitar work by Guy.
The pace and feel of Through the Looking Glass is certainly a highlight, adding a lot of strong riffs and Guy’s vocal performance is some of the best in the entire album. Sinister Echo is quite similar in this front, but it has a nice groove that adds to the whole experience.
The album ends with an instrumental, Bull in a China Shop, which is a nice way of concluding because it allows Guy to showcase his abilities as a guitar player, and the song never overstays its welcome, much like the vast majority of the album and that’s part of the charm of Dark Side of the Rainbow. It is a fascinating mix of 70s AC/DC with early Van Halen, and it works like a charm.
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