Rolf Munkes Band, "No More Obscurity" (Lion Music) Sorry, but I just couldn't get into this CD! Excellent musicianship, but the hard rock/pop sound came off as annoying in the places it should have been catchy (which, even still, is not what really makes a song great for me) and forgettable where it should have been memorable. Vocals are tolerable when they're not trying to sound macho. The cover of "Message in a Bottle" is unremarkable as well (but I never liked the song in the first place - another sign that I'm probably not compatible with this band). There is some good material, though like the ballad "The Man Who Learned to Fly," but it is buried in the rest of the album. Actually, the most frustrating thing is that most of the songs have some really good parts (especially the instrumentals, which outnumber the vocal tracks) but seem clueless as to where to go with them. Somehow, they just seem to be missing. Another thing I must complain about is the lead guitar. It never slows down (except for the two ballads, which is probably why they're enjoyable) and is always playing something that sounds technically impossible even if its tempo was halved. It's TOO MUCH! No matter how phenomenal it is, it gets annoying after the 100th time. The worst offender here is the just-slightly-over-a-minute "Mystic Overture," which is actually pretty ambient except for the guitar playing 64th note scales half the time. To be honest, that one was hard to not laugh out loud at. I don't have anything against great musicianship, but when that's all a song has going for it, I'm not very impressed. While the other instruments usually take a back seat to the guitar playing (unsurprisingly), they usually stay away from silly overplaying. The only exception to this is "Drumatic," a 51-second drum solo that incredibly manages to be just as boring and technically challenging as the usual 20-minute variety. Sorry, Rolf. Suffice it to say, unless you don't care about anything other than listening to really difficult guitar solos, I'd be hard pressed to recommend this. Your mileage may vary. ~Jon Dharma
Rolf Munkes also plays in EMPIRE.
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