|Musical Style: Melodic Hard Rock||Produced By: David Zaffiro|
|Record Label: Alarma||Country Of Origin: USA|
|Year Released: 1989||Artist Website:|
|Tracks: 10||Rating: 70%|
|Running Time: 42:09|
Fans of the Seattle based melodic metal band Bloodgood are certain to be familiar with guitarist David Zaffiro, the talented musician who contributed the fast fingered lead guitar work to the bands first three albums. After departing Bloodgood following the release of its 1988 effort Rock In A Hard Place, Zaffiro recorded his first solo album entitled The Other Side in which he goes after a stylish acoustic laced combination of hard rock and melodic rock. Zaffiro, a very underrated guitarist, provides for just the right amount of fluid lead guitar work, but when necessary he can showcase a softer side to his playing on tracks such as "The Other Side" and "Spirit Of The Lord". Due to being overshadowed by the bands talented lead vocalist Les Carlson, Zaffiro was never allowed to display his vocal abilities while in Bloodgood. Nevertheless, The Other Side gives him the opportunity to exhibit a very fine gritty and raspy and at times blues soaked lead vocal style. (I had no idea this guy could sing so well!)
A slight but noticeable thinness permeates the production values to The Other Side. The albums low end could have come across more pronounced in allowing for stronger bass lines and a crisper drum sound. The rhythm guitar deserves to project more upfront edge and crispness. The lead guitar, on the other can, cleanly rises above the instrumentation. While certainly not a major detraction, there is room for improvement here.
The album opens to three superb polished hard rockers in "Stay", "I See Red" and "Where Are You Now" that would sound right at home on Rock In A Hard Place.
"Stay" begins to several seconds of crunchy rhythm guitar that gives way to a bit of lead guitar. After the song tapers off to an acoustic laced mid-tempo pace for its first verse, it gains momentum for a smooth sounding chorus highlighted by Zaffiro's gritty vocal delivery. A very fine fluid guitar solo helps carry a minute long instrumental passage. "Stay" draws its influence from Luke 24:28-29:
Many nights I've seen an open door
And so afraid of stepping through
Always fearing someone the likes of You
Our eyes catch, You're staring back at me
Always letting me know You care
Once I cross that line I know I'm there
Stay with me a littler longer...
Introduced to a drum solo, "I See Red" takes off to an edgy metal flavored guitar riff that quickly propels it to a chorus with a good catchy hook. Zaffiro is once again on top of things with several seconds of spirited lead guitar work.
Another drum solo starts "Where Are You Now" before a crisp rhythm guitar buttresses its first verse with a ton of class, a full mix of vocal harmonies adulating the song as it approaches a strong ethereal flavored chorus. Zaffiro contributes thirty seconds of the albums best fast fingered lead guitar work.
The restrained melodic rock of "Why Me" is one of several tracks on the album to not quite make the grade. Once a blend of acoustic guitar and keyboards drives the song through its first verse, a touch of rhythm guitar reinforces a chorus backed by vocal harmonies placed a bit too forward in the mix.
"The Other Side" and "Diversity", on the other hand, highlight the more creative side of Zaffiro's songwriting skills.
An exquisite combination of acoustic guitar and keyboards compels "The Other Side" forward until a touch of rhythm guitar leads the way to an atmospheric chorus carried in sublime fashion. I like how the song slowly builds until Zaffiro lets loose with an extended blues flavored guitar solo. Beautiful song. "The Other Side" talks about the believer’s promise of eternal life:
Light glistens through the sky
And all that was fear has died
The kingdom of glory awaits
The promise of God beyond the gates
I find I am in paradise
On the other side...
Commencing to a blend of dark sounding rhythm guitar and keyboards, "Diversity" transitions to an acoustic guitar upon reaching its first verse. Picking up in pace for its pre-chorus, the song attains a chorus underscored by a near perfect blend of acoustic guitar and crisp rhythm guitar. A nice melodic based guitar solo complements the pace and feel of a song drawing its lyrics from I Corinthians 12:4-7:
I feel Your leading and I know that I must go
I fold my hands and let You take control
Diversity - showing me faces and taking me placed that I've never been
Diversity - pushing me further but never erases all that I am
The guitar driven melodic rock of "You" does not quite make the grade. A near perfect blend of acoustic and rhythm guitar carries the song through its first and second verse until it hits a wall upon attaining a weak pop flavored chorus.
"To The End" moves the album back to a much needed hard rock direction. Subsequent to an acoustic guitar driving the song through its first verse, a crisp rhythm guitar kicks in and takes it to a catchy chorus advancing at a strong upbeat tempo. Zaffiro cuts loose with a brief but blistering guitar solo.
The acoustic based "Only Eyes" slowly proceeds through its verse portions until it reaches a stylish chorus with a laid back feel. While Zaffiro's lead guitar work is very well done, I wish he would have chosen to extend it by several additional seconds.
After an anthem-like blend of keyboards conveys the ethereal "Spirit Of The Lord" through its first and second verse, it arrives at an acoustic laced chorus underlined by atmospheric female vocal harmonies. An edgy guitar solo flawlessly carries the song over its final thirty seconds. A good ending to a very fine album. "Spirit Of The Lord" takes on a worshipful tone:
Father of eternity, infinity commands
Alpha and Omega, Beginning and the End
Always the same, again and again
Beyond space and time, His love extends
Wisdom bows at His side
Knowledge lays prostrate, contrite
The sword that cuts, tween marrow-n-bone
The promise of God to seal his own
The overall feeling I get from listening to The Other Side is that David Zaffiro wanted to stretch and explore musical territory he was not given the opportunity to cover while in Bloodgood. And I cannot help but think he did a very commendable job at that in tracks such as "The Other Side" and "Diversity" ranks among the finest of his career. That being said, I wish the album would have included a few more upbeat hard rockers along the lines of "I See Red" and "To The End" to better complement its more acoustically driven and pop flavored moments.
Review by: Andrew Rockwell
Track Listing: “Stay” (4:00), “I See Red” (3:22), “Where Are You Now” (3:36), “Why Me” (3:59), “The Other Side” (6:17), “Diversity” (4:43), “You” (3:11), “To The End” (4:27), “Only Eyes” (3:39), “Spirit Of The Lord” (4:49)
David Zaffiro – Lead Vocals & Guitars
Kelly Carpenter - Keyboards
David Hubbard - Keyboards
Bill Hale – Bass
Davin McLaird – Drums
Maverick Gibson – Rhythm Guitar
Mark Mosholder - Bass
Also Reviewed: Bloodgood - Bloodgood