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Ah, Shred, yet another arpeggio sweeping genre that I am criminally illiterate in. Barring the flirtations I’ve had with Bob Katsionis’, Lawrence Wallace is one of the only full name inclusive shred/heavy metal projects I’ve taken a dive into. Wallace’s debut ‘Journey Through Time’ is another refined 2021 pick up I’ve listened to a few times now, and I must admit that it is a hit! The delightfully brisk yet expansive 32-minute runtime is a shot of energy and passion containing optimistic and powerful highs, downtrodden melancholic lows and bizarre middling experiments; all without any lyrics! Yes, like most shred albums, the album is purely instrumental with no vocals. I know to some (myself included) this may be a turn off, buff Lawrence manages to keep pace and attention with his immaculate guitar playing skills. Let’s jump right in and take this journey right by the horns!
To begin with, there’s something oddly nostalgic about ‘Journey Through Time’. It’s got an unbridled, electric, kinetic energy reminiscent of the metal-esque Power Ranger themes. The way the guitar takes center stage and pummels through the wind with its free spirit, presumably to defeat evil, is so endearingly timeless sounding that I can’t help but feel like a kid again. Each track draws from its respective and is subtle in its variation. Take for example the song ‘Escaping the Abyss’ which features a sort of sub sonic buzz and whirring edge that gives it an otherworldly, unsettling feeling, or the tracks ‘Graveyard Cemetery’ and ‘Palace in the Sky’, which are acoustic, melodramatic and mid paced to even out the optimistic tone of the album. The former does a much better job than the latter, mostly because it’s much shorter and eerie, whereas the latter feels like a retread. Other than that, each track is a whirlwind of that feel-good heavy metal magic, designed to make you head bang with a smile on your face.
I also must commend the production on this album as well! From the second you hit play, sounds of a brilliantly bright and vast guitar light up the synapses of my ear, delivering riff after shredding riff of echoey goodness. The fast pace of the album accentuates how impactful the guitars are, a million-ton force of nature blasting faster than the speed of light. The sound of everything immerses you in the lightning centric world suggested by the album. Not only is it a believable world painted by the sound and writing, it’s also a fun one that is pleasantly worth listening to, again and again. I could listen to the first track ‘Visions of Another World’ over and over and never get tired of it due to how atmospheric it is. Keep in mind, this is all paired together with Lawrence’s tight playing, epically telling the story of this album’s world through his guitar. There are a few clunky synths thrown in, but they’re so few and far between that you’ll probably not be bothered by them. Speaking of seemingly clunky, the drumming here sounds programmed, but to those who may be concerned it keeps excellent pace with the rest of the music and doesn’t sound at all robotic.
Yes, ‘Journey Through Time’ is an excellent shred debut and a thrilling way to burn half an hour. Lawrence Wallace paints his epic journey not only with the great sound of his album, but with the tactile precision of his playing at grand speeds as well. It’s a storm of positivity that is infectious while cementing itself as an underground contender for my top 10 of the year. Just sit back and enjoy the ‘Journey Through Time’.
Release date: February 1st, 2021
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