SLAV SIMANIC - Water Of Life; 9/10
The very talented guitarist and composer Slav Simanic, who hails from Toronto, Canada has released a great album which should immensely appeal to all fans of well crafted, excellent guitar playing!

Entitled "Water of Life", this twelve track, mostly instrumental guitar album is a fantastic showcase for Simanic's considerable talents. In addition to all the guitar work, Simanic,(who is also a teacher of various guitar styles at Toronto's New Conservatory of Music as well as being an affiliated teacher of The Royal Conservatory of Music!) also quite commendably handled all the bass, keyboards, and drum programming on the CD!

Very heavily influenced by Joe Satriani and Steve Vai, (In fact the opening title track could easily be mistaken for a lost outtake fom the "Surfing With The Alien" recording sessions) Simanic has the same talent for creating memorable, melodic yet at the same time complex lead guitar lines!
Infused with a heavy Christian message, which is delivered in a way that is never preachy, evident for the most part in short spoken word parts which appear several times throughout the album, which get across the point that he is trying to say in a very classy way! Very versatile, Simanic shifts easily from Satriani styled instrumentals (The great title track, "Water of Life","Hero ", which is somewhat reminiscent of Satriani's "Always with Me, Always with You") to more Vai influenced tracks such as "Passover" and "The Holy City". Simanic also shows his versatality on the 7:00 neo classical workout "Resurrection Suite", which alternates from some very fluid, fiery fretwork to more lyrical melodies before switching to a definitely heavy rock rhythm. Also commendable on this track is Simanic's lightning fast keyboard work!

The album's lone vocal track "Days Of Ease" is a fine power ballad with the vocals being handled by ex Talas singer Phil Naro. The guitar tones contained on "Water of Life" range from super clean to just the right amount of distortion needed to make this well crafted songs rock!

Production on "Water Of Life" is absolutely superb, clear and crisp, easily matching any major label production!

Slav Simanic is a fantastic guitarist, with chops to spare! Able to shred with the best of them, he also possesses a very keen sense of melody, which allows this album to be enjoyed by more than just guitarists!

All in all, this is a great guitar album, one which can be enjoyed time and time again!
As this is his debut album, I will love to see how Simanic develops on subsequent releases!

Another "must buy" for lovers of great guitar work contained in strong, memorable songs.
(For ordering and other information check out Slav Simanic's website at http://www.yesic.com/~simanic/)

Band Personnel:
Slav Simanic:Guitars, Bass,Keyboards,Drum Programming & Backing Vocals,
Phil Naro:Lead Vocals
Label: Latter Rain Records

(Keith Langerman)