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Jarle H. Olsen - Quadrasonic

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Nov 10, 2011    l   By Ablx Staff

Norwegian guitarist Jarle H. Olsen’s new album Quadrasonic features a tightly produced collection of progressive metal compositions that are brimming with soaring melodicism, clever arrangements, and absolutely insane chops. Olsen is joined on the all instrumental disc by keyboardists Alex Argento and Manuel Soto, bassists Rodrigo Garcia and Jan Martin Kleveland, and drummer Bjarte K. Helland. Every track on Quadrasonic is credited to Olsen, and while the album is clearly dominated by his vision and impressive guitar playing, Argento’s keyboard work leaves a lasting impression here as well.

Though Olsen’s writing on Quadrasonic definitely has some neo-classical shades, it’s also highly progressive, resulting in a Vinnie Moore-meets-Planet X sort of vibe on several tracks. And while the majority of the songs are either uber-heavy (such as “Pro-10,” “Enigmatic Mind,” and the arpeggio-laden “Event Horizon”) or at least feature heavier sub-sections, there’s plenty of melodic playing and writing on the album as well. On the ballad “From Deep Within,” for example, Olsen uses deeply stacked guitar harmonies to create a dramatic, almost melancholic mood. Even here though, odd meters and tricky lines are employed which lend a prog-rock vibe to the track. “Dark Matter” and “Chimerical Moments” are perhaps the album’s best examples of Olsen’s ability to seamlessly blend his melodicism with balls-out metal. Heavy riffs ride alongside clever, memorable lines in these songs, while the arrangements are such that everything has room to breathe. Both of these tunes are greatly enhanced by Argento’s keyboard contributions as well - his tones and playing provide great texture, and the tandem lines he peels off with Olsen are unreal.

The album closes with a three-part suite (titled “Osiris”), which features an interlude-like middle section of keyboard accompanied solo guitar bookended by aggressive riff-driven tracks. The final song, “Osiris - Journey To Duat,” fittingly ends with some of Olsen and Argento’s best interplay on the album.

Throughout Quadrasonic, Olsen’s technical display is simply stunning. His picking and legato chops are as fast and clean as anything you are likely to hear, and his vibrato is very well-developed. While this album is certainly overflowing with amazing technique - from Olsen, and everyone else for that matter - it’s more than a mere shred record. Quadrasonic is an album where the chops are used first and foremost to execute the smart, progressive ideas the songs call for, and to enhance the overall vibe of the disc. If this fine, well-produced effort is any indication, Olsen is one player whom we are certain to hear more from in the future.

Jarle H. Olsen - Quadrasonic

Personnel:

Jarle H. Olsen - Guitars
Alex Argento - Keyboards
Rodrigo Garcia - Bass
Bjarte K. Helland - Drums
Jan Martin Kleveland - Bass on tracks 5, 7, 8, & 10
Manuel Soto - Keyboards on track 1

Tracklisting:

1. Exordium
2. Pro-10
3. Dark Matter
4. Enigmatic Mind
5. From Deep Within
6. Event Horizon
7. Chimerical Moments
8. Osiris - The Omnipotence
9. Osiris - Reawakening
10. Osiris - Journey To Duat

By: Rich Murray


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