Alastair Greene

Alastair Greene
Through The Rain

Le Roi Records

By Tony Del Rey
May 2012

When it comes to plying his trade at the low end of a six-string, Alastair Greene exudes more confidence than Hugh Hefner in a hot tub with his take-no-prisoners style of rhythm and lead playing. Short of sending his Fender up in flames, Greene summons his muse as 1970s-era rock guitar god by whipping off solo after finger blistering solo, asserting his instrumental authority with little, if any regard for the tone control knob.

Greene’s latest disc, Through The Rain, is not a blues album. The high voltage riffing that forms the basis of its material is more in line with the faceless guitar wizardry of Ritchie Blackmore and Robin Trower than anything Johnny Winter or Roy Buchanan ever produced. Yet beneath the storm of unrelenting guitar noise, the album contains some rather cohesive songs.

The best of these are the power pop ballads, “By The Way,” “Get Your Evil On” and “Madman.” All draw on post-Zeppelin-period thrumming chord work and big, anthem-like choruses delivered with Greene’s untamed vocal mannerisms expressing the kind of rebellious youth posturing that pervades rock music today. Not that you’ll hear any of these cuts on commercial FM radio anytime soon.

While Greene plays it sassy, fat and certain with his soloing - much of which relies on studio techniques involving stacked guitar parts, cross-fading and stereo separation in order to produce a larger, more vicious sound - the maelstrom of notes he produces yields but fragmentary moments of magic. Only when he dons his slide for the tub-thumper, “By The Way,” and the southern fried rocker, “Take Me With You,” and makes it sing with the fury of a demon, does Greene pay any homage whatsoever to the blues genre.

And that’s a pity. Since the role of guitar hero has been very much relegated to the margins of mainstream contemporary music, and the solo-meister reduced to mere cult status, the only safe haven left for a player of Alastiar Greene’s ilk is the blues. Unfortunately, he doesn’t play much of it.

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