Sunday, August 28, 2016

Gunsen - The Adventure of the Devil's Note Album Review

Hello everyone! It's been almost 2 years since I abandoned this blog for bigger and better things. But, almost as if someone is pressuring me to do this, I decided out of the blue to sacrifice my precious free time and write a new album review for your reading pleasure. So sit down, strap on some headphones, and get ready to go on an adventure. The Adventure of the Devil's Note.

Before we get into the review proper, I'll share the little background info I have on Mr. Gunsen. He's best known as one of the guitarists of the Polish power metal band Pathfinder. I've posted about Pathfinder in the past, they're a pretty good band and you should listen to them if you don't already. But they haven't put out any new music since 2012 and have only relatively recently replaced their old vocalist. So what has Gunsen been doing when he's not making guest solos for every band in Poland? I have no idea, but apparently he made an album at some point.

Hearing that an album is from the solo project of a power metal guitarist undoubtedly gives some expectations when listening to it. I'm happy to say that The Adventure of the Devil's Note subverts many of these right off the bat. I would have initially thought the Gunsen solo project would be something similar to Gus G's solo work. Instrumental guitar wankery with maybe some guest vocalists and stuff. However, this 'solo' project is actually more of a band. Gunsen the band is made up of Gunsen on guitars, Grzegorz Pastor Slomba on vocals, Arkadiusz E. Ruth on bass, and Grzegorz Hiero on drums (sorry if I got any of your crazy Polish names wrong). This gives the whole album a much more cohesive sound, there's no tracks with weird vocals that don't quite fit. All the songs are in the same style and it helps the album flow really well. Another thing worth mentioning is that The Adventure of the Devil's Note isn't even power metal, it's something a lot closer to melodeath. But don't worry, there's still all the guitar wankery you'd expect (and hope for) from a power metal guitarist.

The Adventure of the Devil's Note flys at a breakneck pace with plenty of blast beats, awesome screaming vocals, and epic keyboards (why do bands never credit whoever plays the keyboard?). Gunsen also isn't afraid to experiment with different elements, like the industrial parts in Time of Machines or different electronic and symphonic stuff spread out everywhere. The album runs at a cool 58 minutes and never slows down besides Kotoro, which spends the beginning and end of its 10 minutes building up an ancient Japanese ambiance. Because of this, it's definitely one of the stand out songs but not the first in a long line of unexpected twists on this album.

I'm not going to spend too long on the lyrics because this is metal and nobody cares. But there seems to be some sort of obsession with turning animals into freakish metal monsters (Metal Chicken, Super Pig, and Hellish Kitty). There's quite a bit of meowing on Hellish Kitty in particular. Anyway...

Gunsen brands his solo project as "total war against shit in mass media", and, well, there's no mass media shit in here. Maybe he should send music to Fox News or something to make it total war. But ignoring all of that, The Adventure of the Devil's Note is a solid melodeath/power album. It was totally not what I was expecting when I clicked play and I think it'll stay in my playlist for quite a bit. I hope that many of the music elements that were developed here will be used in the future on future Gunsen or Pathfinder albums.

-Zombie Viking

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