Review: Josh Keech “Warrior In The Clouds Pt.2”

Review: Josh Keech “Warrior In The Clouds Pt.2”

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Late last summer, British guitarist Josh Keech released the sequel to his first EP, “Warrior in the Clouds, Pt. 2” on the local label JJK Records, thereby concluding this canvas of work, which can hardly be called conceptual. In the first part, he began to explore his compositional capabilities and define his preferences, while the second part already showed his maturity and some original steps towards his own style.

The focus of this work is also on guitar mastery, with Josh honing his skills, trying to find a balance between the traditional school of metal, classical music, and improvisation. It sounds more like nostalgia, putting down roots in the distant 80s, the time when metal was taking shape, loudly breaking stereotypes and pushing the idea of rebellion to a new level. This project is not about innovation and experimental moves; rather, it pays homage to the music on which this British guitarist grew up and still cherishes as something sacrosanct. This album is built on sheer enthusiasm, with almost everything done by Josh himself. Only a few additional musicians were involved in the recording and production of this album. The sound, alas, is not perfect, but this immature rawness emphasizes the importance of the spirit of those times when metal was at the peak of its glory.

Are there many differences from the first EP that this guitarist from Bedford has managed? No, not many. But in brief, if the first part leaned more towards heavy metal and partly towards the alt. scene, now there is even more thrash, and the heavy metal has become more soulful and positive. There is more epicness, a bit fewer clichés, but what remains unchanged is that this music still flows with shining drive and explosive dynamics. It is hard to say that this album belongs to the 21st century, as the old school spirit pours through the guitar riffs, while the solo parts include more improvisational moments but are devoid of progressiveness. However, this does not mean that the album lacks technicality; it is straightforward by nature, despite attempts to play with improvisation.

The album begins with the epic intro “Taurus” with significant classical music influence, adding notes of melancholy to the overall sound of this musical journey. “Southern Blue Jam” with its rock ‘n’ roll vibes and bright energy, hints at blues rock and even some country, thanks to the harmonica (also played by Josh). “Torture Chamber” and “Your Delusion / Your Deception” are typical compositions, navigating between thrash/speed and good old heavy metal, following the traditions of these genres with fairly obvious precision. And if “Torture Chamber” leans more towards speed metal in all its fast-paced glory, then “Your Delusion / Your Deception” inclines to hard ‘n’ heavy, infecting with optimism but sometimes showing the claws of thrash/speed violence. The ballad “Never Forgotten, Never Forgiven” is rhythmic and sweet in its nostalgic impulses, also revealing the tearful nature of southern rock. The album concludes with “The Final End”, a kind of ode to Megadeth’s thrash era, though lacking in intellectual progressiveness, especially during the guitar solo parts. So this time, Josh has once again touched on his proven genre range – from classical music and hard rock to heavy and thrash metal.

In recent years, the music scene has been overwhelmed with new names, and only a few manage to break stylistic barriers or even contribute to create something new. But most bands and solo musicians prefer to follow the trodden path, getting a kick out of the music that resonates with their inner world. Josh Keech is in the latter category, and on his latest EP “Warrior in the Clouds, Pt. 2”, he immortalized not only his guitar and compositional progress but also revived the spirit of that metal which has already become history, procreating many brilliant icons.

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