Monday, May 30, 2016

CD Review: STEVE BELLO Layers Of Time

Layers Of Time
Steve Bello is a New Jersey based guitarist who is establishing his work on several social media outlets, producing and promoting it independently. His latest full length Layers Of Time was released in December 2015. If you’re a fan of progressive metal with lengthy solos and shades of Steve Vai and Al DiMeola you’ll want to check this out. The nine tracks are instrumentals serving as a backdrop for relentless lead playing reminiscent of 70s and 80s progressive rock. His Soundcloud profile only has four of them (plus older songs) but they’re enough to make you want more. The production is by Rosario Panzarella and lays bare Bello’s prowess as a guitarist. Each note in the leads and each background progression is meticulous, and the transitions from one mood to the next are spot on showing how much thought and planning went into them. There is a balance between heaviness and refinement indicating his search for his own identity is no joke, as there is something here that will appeal to fans of prog, thrash and jazz. You’ll understand this to a greater degree experiencing Layers Of Time firsthand. There were some moments I liked more than others; for my personal tastes the heavier, aggressive songs appealed more to me: the intense Nuclear Paradise, the intricate Slippery Gypsy, the hypnotic Jigsaw Mind and especially the title track. In those the rule book is thrown out the window as far as how a song should start, how it is supposed to progress and on what note it should conclude. You won’t be bored if you like albums that explore new territory each time a new track starts. Several moments reminded me of classic Rush, particularly A Farewell To Kings and Hemispheres. I found it ironic that Bello saved the heaviest song for last. The crunching, heavily distorted Layers Of Time ventures into doom metal territory with keyboards providing atmosphere and leads that reminded me of Fate’s Warning. This song is my hands down personal favorite. You can refer to Bello’s Facebook profile for updates on live shows; as several performances are being scheduled at present. -Dave Wolff

Track list:
1. Postcards from Mars
2. Nuclear Paradise
3. Instant Amnesia
4. Balancing the Sun
5. Slippery Gypsy
6. Too Far Below Zero
7. Jigsaw Mind
8. Dangerous Heat
9. Layers of Time

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