"Water Of Life"
Latter Rain Records

Most music fans aren't crazy about predominately guitar-oriented instrumental albums, but this one is a keeper. Yes, it has a number of ballads on it and there's only one song with vocals, but there is such a positive vibe here that one can't help but dig it.

Slav Simanic is one of the most talented guitarists I've ever heard, and he also handles bass, synth and drum programming. This Yugoslavian-born, Canadian-based artist proves that he can write and arrange music; any good rock band would be very lucky to have him in the fold. "Days Of Ease" is the only song with vocals, those of one of the best vocalists I've ever heard, ex-Talas singer Phil Naro. A winning combo!

Instrumentals like "The Lamb Of God," "Passover" and the title track have religious overtones, but don't let that fool you. This is some of the best progressive metal-styled riffing and synth embellishment I've ever heard! Slav Simanic's work can be heavy, ominous and almost moshworthy, or it can be dreamy, mellow and romantic. Either way, it's top-notch work.

This 12-song CD will probably appeal more to guitarists than anyone else, and since Simanic has guitar lessons and publications available, I urge all guitarists, particularly beginners, to order them and get to work. If you have access to Toronto's New Conservatory of Music, I'd strongly suggest studying under the man himself.

1999, BBHrdRpt