|Skill In Veins - 'Self Titled' (Avenue Of Allies)|
|Written by Matt Phelps|
|Thursday, 13 May 2010 06:00|
Skill In Veins main man Andrea "Andream" Lanza is one of those guitar protégé types. You know the story, you've heard it so many times before. Young lad plays guitar like a demon, writes totally amazing songs, has all the works just no band. Calls well known producer, in this case Edge Of Forever/Eden's Curse geezer Alessandro Del Vecchio, who in turn makes a few calls and band and album are built swiftly around our new hero to be. Now normally I wouldn't pay much attention to another one of these protégé stories as they usually end with the same level of excitement you get from placing a firework in a bucket of water, but since names like Jake E Lee and George Lynch are being used to describe the style of Lanza's playing then my ears pricked up like a hungry hyena.
Unfortunately my new meal was not to materialise as the new age Lynch just turns out to be another tasteless Slash clone. Opening duo 'Can't Ride My Soul' and 'Skulls On The Way' are both half decent rockers chock full of Les Paul riffing but both just sound like they've been lifted straight from the nearest Snakepit reject pile. Young Andrea supposedly got into rock music by going through his older brother's collection of old GNR, Skid Row and Metallica records. Presumably there was at least one W.A.S.P. one in there too as the opening riff of 'Youth Times' ain't far off being a virtual carbon copy of the main riff from 'Scream Until You Like It'. Further more 'Just One Drink' is built from the same slow groove blue(s)print that Cinderella used for the likes of 'Electric Love' and 'Long Cold Winter'. I'm not saying Andrea's been copying on his homework but as the album goes on it sounds more and more like some third rate tribute CD with far too many of the tracks seeming to have been "written in the style of" rather than having come out naturally in his own style from all the influences he's had. 'Sick Mind' and 'You're Doing It Again' prove this with a pointless back to back exercise of showing brutally heavy driving guitars for one song before switching lanes erratically into some misguided Red Hot Chili Peppers wannabe funk rubbish for the next.
Markonee front man Gabriele Gozzi is the fellow with the job of providing the vocals; Gozzi has a voice that's somewhat comparable to a rough around the edges Michael Sweet. Powerful soaring notes with plenty of range but a little "dirtier" than my Bible loving hero. Imagine a whiskey drinking Sweet instead of a wine sipping one and you'll be close to the mark. But when Lanza is shining he really does shine, brighter than even Gozzi's glittering voice. 'Don't Need You To Cry' should really be retitled 'Don't Need You To Sing' as Andrea's free flowing soloing goes above and beyond, showing how much better it would be if he just relaxed a little into being himself and stopped imagining he was wearing a top hat. Sometimes you're left wishing that Gozzi would just shut up and let the guitar do the singing, but those moments are rare and usually it's only Gabriele's powerful range and quality voice that give you the incentive to carry on listening.
Hidden away in here somewhere there's probably a smoking four track EP just crying out to be separated from the chaff. 'I'm Living My Life' and 'Don't Need You To Cry' being definite contenders for the first two places at least. But unfortunately the magic that's evident in some places is left drowning in the quagmire of endless "tribute like" moments. For the most part Skill In Veins lurch about like a schizophrenic bucking bronco with no real individual identity or any real idea which direction they ultimately want to head in.