SLAV SIMANIC - "LET IT GO"
Now And Then/Frontiers Records (Europe) - 2002
LET IT GO
Now & Then / Frontiers FRCD 122
Produced by: Slav Simanic
Released: July 22
Relatives: Naro, 24K, Yngwie
By Andrew J. McNeice
Slav Simanic is a very talented guitarist, based in Toronto, but of European descent.
His first album - the mainly instrumental Water Of Life - was a very enjoyable and rather melodic friendly guitar album that hinted of more good things to come.
It's been a few years since that and on his new album for Frontiers/Now & Then Slav has enlisted the help of fellow Toronto resident and friend Phil Naro to perform vocals. Phil's voice is an ideal match for Slav's melodic, but hard edged guitar style - which is quite varied. The album goes from light pop rock to heavy Kiss like melodic hard rock, to double kick drum drenched European style heavy rock.
Let It Go takes in happy go lucky AOR anthems like the title track, to moody rockers like I'm Going Up Higher, through the harder edge European style heavy rock of You're Never Going To Die and back again to heartfelt rock ballads like People Say. In fact, the hook to People Say and Phil's vocal make it one of the better ballads of recent times. A real melodic gem.
When things get heavy - like on The Almighty - the album becomes a bit overbearing. The double kick drum pattern of several songs becomes too familiar.
The instrumental The Message Of Three Angels for example is prime Yngwie territory, with some severe riffing on offer. While that is great in it's own right, it musically doesn't match other parts of the album. I much prefer the happy go lucky pop rock on offer.
It must be pointed out that of the 14 tracks, several are instrumental.
As a special value added bonus, the debut album Water Of Life is being packaged with this album for it's European release. Outstanding value for fans of guitar players and guitar driven hard rock.
BOTTOM LINE: Let It Go is a varied and musically tight Christian rock album, with solid sound and production. But it's a bit varied for some melodic fans that would be pulled in by Phil Naro's appearance.
In this case, it seems the best tracks of the album seem to be the lighter ones. Take the title track for example and tracks like People Say, plus Promised Land and Can't Stop On A Dime. Excellent songs that see Phil and Slav hit their mark.
Vocally, Phil also does a terrific job on the heavier tracks, and Slav turns in a great performance for guitar fans.
While guitar driven throughout, still be aware that the album contains two personalities.
PRODUCTION: 70% SONGS: 75% VIBE: 75% ATTITUDE: 80%
ESSENTIAL FOR: Fans of guitarists, Phil Naro fans, fans of guitar driven hard rock with a twist.
DISCOGRAPHY: Water Of Life . Let It Go