By Andrew Bansal
Based out of Vancouver BC, Canadian guitarist Matt Chanway is a member of death/thrash band Assimilation who released their debut full-length in March 2017, but recently, Chanway also worked on his own set of tunes showcasing his guitar prowess, and put out his eponymous debut album. Guitar nerds and prog fanatics, strap yourselves in because this is a wild rollercoaster of an album, and one that firmly puts this guitarist on your radar.
The 6-song, 40-minute, all-instrumental effort begins with the track ‘Evidence of the Arcane’ which sets the tone perfectly with passages of fast guitar shred intertwined with slower, riff-oriented segments that excellently punctuate the scorching leads. ‘The Receiver of Wisdom’ builds upon this songwriting approach further. This is not a guitar player who’s here to overwhelm you with solos at the speed of light, but instead lets each note breathe to its fullest and injects variations in tempo and patterns to keep you interested and engaged, despite the absence of any vocals to relate the songs to.
‘Harbinger 2.1’ and ‘271114’ are great examples of Chanway’s riff-writing abilities, as he builds his solos around the riffs, whereas it’s often the opposite with many solo guitarists. ‘Eyes in the Sky’ in the shortest track on the album, but interestingly also the slowest, and is followed by ‘Lucidity’ which brings this solo debut to an appropriately impressive conclusion. These tunes altogether paint quite a dark, dystopian, post-apocalyptic picture, which lends even more depth to the impact of the music itself.
It seems like Chanway has it in him to take his guitar play and songwriting to much higher extremes on future releases, but this is an apt beginning, and makes a positive first impression. This album is clearly intended for guitar enthusiasts and prog fans, and if you’re neither, it is unlikely to change your mind, but if you find bands like Megadeth, Revocation and guitarists such as Jeff Loomis to be up your alley, Matt Chanway’s debut effort is absolutely your cup of tea and you would be well-advised to give it a spin. A compelling debut in every aspect.
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1. Evidence of the Arcane (6:22)
2. The Receiver of Wisdom (6:58)
3. Harbinger 2.1 (8:24)
4. 271114 (6:48)
5. Eyes in the Sky (5:48)
6. Lucidity (6:26)
Total Duration: 40:46