|Borislav Mitic: Fantasy|
|1992, Sahira Records|
Borislav Mitic's first solo effort prior to the self-titled Shrapnel release is a showcase of Mitic's command over classical masterpieces by Paganini and the like. The CD is dominated by arrangements built on the foundations of Paganinis "24 Caprices", "2nd Violin Concerto", and "Moto Perpetuo". But, Mitic does not limit himself to Paganini and also draws from other European classics, as well as other flavors of music outside of the traditional European variety.
There is no earth-shattering, revolutionary technique on Fantasy, but the playing is solid, there is mastery of neoclassical techniques, and the arrangements are well thought out. Mitic delivers some blazing chops in a tidy format that is closer to straight classical on electric guitar than some of Mitic's neoclassical predecessors. Mitic is a neoclassical purist with guitar prowess that rivals the best in the world and does not muddy his playing or composition with any infantile rockisms. But, not to worry, there is no shortage of driving pace and aggression in this highly disciplined shred-fest. There is an obvious Yngwie / Paganini / Bach influence in Mitic's style, but Borislav uses this for a base that he builds upon. Mitic adds other influences that spice it up, giving it a different feel than his influences. And, correct me if I am wrong, but it sounds to me like a strong early Greg Howe influence on "Hired Gun" and "Riding The Wind". Mitic is the first guitarist that I have heard that has been able to assimilate that early Greg Howe style. It is impressive.
Fantasy blasts out of the shoot with "Master Of Strings". Mitic doesn't waste any time with a build up and takes it right to you. By the time the main and second theme have completed with their first few variations, you will know what Borislav Mitic is all about. If there are any doubts left after "Master Of Strings", the title track "Fantasy" will clarify matters. But first, Mitic will taunt you with some Paganini-centric themes and shredding on "La Campanella" to make it clear what speeds and precision he is capable. "Fantasy" ensues with a collage of singeing melodies, Yngwie-like riffs (he may have borrowed some signature Yngwie patterns), and searing, speedy runs that will convince the most skeptical guitarists of Mitic's abilities. But, borrowed or not, the playing is really hot and inspired.
"Virtuosa" again showcases more of Mitic's speedy axe mauling that sounds more like a tree running through a lumber mill than an axe. "Virtuosa" has a really neat harmonized section that harmonizes some blistering fast leadwork over a shrilling melody in perfect harmony. Already mentioned, "Hired Gun" and "Riding The Wind", lay down more blazing lead work in the fashion of the early Greg Howe. There are very swift sweeps, fiery runs, and scorching melodies, all played over a hard rock groove and all in the great Greg Howe tradition. Mitic winds down the album with a couple of more melodic, slower pieces. "Written In Stars" is an acoustic composition of Mitic's own creation that fits within the neoclassical genre, but also extends far beyond that with its low-keyed acoustic harmonies and melodies. "All These Years", my personal favorite from Fantasy, starts out as an acoustic piece loosely based on Pachelbel's "Canon In C" and then explodes tactfully into some triumphant arpeggios and warming melodies that reiterate the main theme in a new, more assertive voice. Mitic then goes out with a bang with Paganini's "Moto Perpetuo"... verbatim, leaving no doubts about his skill and command over the guitar.
The more I listen to Fantasy, the more I think I might like it better than the self-titled Shrapnel release. I strongly recommend Fantasy if you liked Mitic's Shrapnel release or Paganini or are a neoclassical purist. There is a lot of good balance between melodies and faster passages in these arrangements. Mitic is the type of player that I am very partial to because of his ear for melody and development of melodic themes. And, Borislav Mitic is making unusual names fashionable again with his shredding, guitar prowess. Who would have ever guessed there would be a virtuoso of this caliber that would come from Yugoslavia? You can get it at http://www.guitarnine.com.
|1) Master Of Strings|
|2) La Campanella|
|4) Ave Maria|
|7) Lion Heart|
|8) The Road To Babylon|
|9) Hired Gun|
|11) Riding The Wind|
|12) Written In Stars|
|13) All These Years|
|14) Moto Perpetuo|
~ Christopher Ruel ~ www.ChrisRuel.com ~ Chris@ChrisRuel.com
Though not his first release, Borislav Mitic received his first real attention in the USA with his self-titled, Shrapnel release in 1998. When you first encounter Mitic, you are probably going to think something like: "What kind of name is that? He couldn't possibly be any good with a name like that!" But, I am going to caution you right away and remind you of an eccentric guitarist from Sweden that we all thought the same thing about when we first heard his name in 1984... Yep, we thought the same thing... until we heard him play. And, Mitic has got his chops down, so you had best not get too skeptical until you take a good listen to this neoclassical purist that has the same speed and precision as the Swedish viking that conquered the guitar world in 1984.
The self-titled Borislav Mitic album is a strictly instrumental shred-o-rama of highly-disciplined neoclassical chops and compositions. Mitic gives equal attention to his virtuoso guitar pyrotechnics as to his well-balanced composition. Borislav is not just out to throw a bundle of scorching fast guitar work at you. He is out to put it in a packaging that is going to stand the test of time with the finest neoclassical albums to date. The composition, production, and attention to tone, dynamics, and balance are all superb.
The CD opens with "Sky Rider", a harder-edged piece with a sliding, descending, crunching riff that then trades off between some ethnic-sounding melodies and faster playing. "Chasing A Dream" follows with the melodies, speedy shredding, and carefully orchestrated themes and sequences that are Mitic's trademark. Several tracks that lend more ethnic sounding harmonization with Baltic, Middle-Eastern, Indian, and Celtic flavoring follow. "Ballade Pour Elle" is a bittersweet ballade that features some beautiful melodies and inspired, emotional playing by Mitic. The carnival-like, Bizet-Liszt rhapsody, "Bird Dance", features some well-orchestrated sequencing that not only showcases Mitic's virtuoso technique, but also demonstrates his ability to compose palatable music at high speeds from different genres of European and other schools of music.
|1) Sky Rider|
|2) Chasing A Dream|
|3) Mystic (Part I)|
|4) Mystic (Part II)|
|5) Waltz Of Time|
|6) Celtic Legends (Part I)|
|7) Celtic Legends (Part II)|
|8) Ballade Pour Elle|
|9) Bird Dance|
|10) Light Of 7 (Part I)|
|11) Light Of 7 (Part II)|
|12) Southern Wind|
|13) Fairytale's End|
~ Christopher Ruel ~ www.ChrisRuel.com ~ Chris@ChrisRuel.com
This review featured in:
Borislav Mitic: self-titled (CD, 54:08); Shrapnel SH11252 This guitarist is from Serbia, Belgrade that is, with a certain ethnic/classical flair to his songs. Vinnie Moore and others of his ilk took to what is called Bach rock. There are fiery chops galore here, yes, expertly executed with precision. "Sky Rider", "Chasing A Dream", "Waltz of Time", and "Ballade Pour Elle" are quite decent Bach rock originals. What intrigues and wows me are the tunes that obviously integrate Serbian folk song structures into shred rock. Now that's more my speed. On "Mystic (Part I and II) this first appears. After very tastefully subdued intros Mitic explodes in some virulent riffs and great scales and modes that had me seeing veiled beauties writhing in gold and silk. Mitic broke some fretboard speed limits here. Mitic handles nicely the music of the Isles on "Celtic Legends (Part I and II)". Ah, Horslips came to mind here or Steve Morse's Celtic tributes. "Bird Dance" was an intensely fun ride in the Flight of the Bumblebee mode of 64th note madness. Too fast! That has got to hurt. Bravo to Jacques Roy on bass and Marc Bonneau on drums in keeping up with Mitic! "Light of 7 (Part I and II)" feature acoustic meanders and drones of Mitic's homeland that then supernova into a balls2dawalls Jeff Beckian/Steve Vai-ish wah-wah drivin' tune mid-speed, heavy rocker. My fav song of Mitic's was "Southern Wind" which was drenched in the sweet folk dance rhythms and ancient Slavic riffs. Man, I could do a whole CD's worth of this eccentric rock! Mitic is in his unique element here. Bring on the handclaps and the whirling dancers! Ooh, ahhh. We melt away in a heroic rock ballad, "Fairytale's End". Recommended axe rock. ~ John W. Patterson
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