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| 4 October 2019 | Reply

Self released
September 2019
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

No-one gets to choose where they’re brought into this world, and all too often the tyranny of geography dictates many of the twists and turns our lives take.

In Graham Greene’s case, an upbringing in remote rural Western Australia was never going to be the right place for his other-worldly guitar mastery to find a world stage. A six (or seven, or eight)-string  magician, a composer, a person who can pluck chords and notes from the ether which sane and normal people couldn’t even imagine in their wildest dreams, his take on rock and roll has been nothing short of staggeringly breathtaking.

But A Ripple In Time – his eighth solo release, tenth overall – nearly didn’t exist. A studio computer meltdown heartbreakingly lost years of un-backed-up music, only weeks after this record was sent for mastering. Thank whatever imaginary deities you pray to for that, because this is another stunning piece of work from the man some call ‘Maestro,’ and some refer to as ‘the Satriani of the South.’

As with most of his solo work, A Ripple In Time is largely instrumental, with Greene pushing the envelope of his own playing with compositions which are sometimes orchestral, sometimes inflected with a celtic or Eastern or medieval feel (and instruments), and always finding the perfect balance between the riff, the lead guitar, the melodies and the feel. It’s not indulgent to suggest that each song on A Ripple In Time (as on most of his previous releases) is an aural and emotional journey.

Tale Goes On and Our Time In Hell are sung by Greene’s wife and life partner Donna, lead vocalist of their collaborative The Resonance Project and other bands. An incredible singer, she provides some extra colour to her composer husband’s palate, and it is always a joy to hear them perform together. Our Time In Hell also features a very rare vocal appearance from Graham himself. In Donna’s words, “he had something to say,” and this climate change epic is undeniably powerful.

Greene can play a heavy riff, and a lightning-fast solo. But it’s more important that he has the incredibly rare gift to compose mini symphonies, songs which have gravitas despite having no lyrics. Works of incomparable, fragile and raw beauty that can elicite a tear from the eye of the listener. I can count on the fingers of one hand the living guitarists who have such mastery over the magic of music.

Featuring fantastic tracks with titles such as Goblin’s Banquet, Night of the Djinn, Mab’s Lament and Beyond The Rings, you would be forgiven for thinking that Greene was a prog rocker, but such labels are too restrictive and constricting when faced with an artist whose work simply cannot and should not be pigeon holed.

And here’s where the tyranny of geography comes into play. I have zero doubt in my mind that had Greene been born somewhere with a more prominent music industry – New York, London, Berlin, anywhere less remote than Western Australia – he would have reached the ears of those who write the right sort of cheques that would ensure he had a career as prominent as a Satriani or a Vai or one of their peers.

There’s still time for a deal with the likes of Nuclear Blast, Roadrunner, SPV Steamhammer, EMI, Sony, Virgin or whoever. Step right up, folks, it’s never too late – A Ripple In Time shows that this consumate artist only gets better and better at his craft.

Category: CD Reviews

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Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE

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