Bluestone Company - Supernatural Delight
The Grooveyard Records label is very proud to present artists whose passion is in serious guitar playing. Having hit singles on FM radio doesn't matter for the folks at Grooveyard. Hosting axemeisters Wes Jeans, Lance Lopez, Randy Hansen Craig Erickson and many others, the label loudly proclaims "THE GUITAR IS KING IN THE GROOVEYARD." This label is a guitar-player's heaven and not for wimps.
A band worth noting on this label is Bluestone Company. Made up of guitarist Toshihiro Sumitomo, bassist Yoshihiro Ogasahara, drummer Taizo Takafuji and percussionist Taro Takagi, their cd entitled "Supernatural Delight" is a solid effort of rock, fusion and blues blending the shred histrionics of Joe Satriani and the heavy blues soul of Warren Haynes.
It's risky to release an entire instrumental album. But "Supernatural Delight" is such a headbanger's affair, you can easily overlook the absence of any vocalist. This is a record of sonic fury. If you're a blues purist, you better go somewhere else.
If you grew up listening to the Allman Brothers, Santana and John McLaughlin, you will find all of those styles right here. Only louder and very capable of giving you a migraine.
There are ten tracks here. Most of these songs just kill. It isn't till the last track "Desert Blues" these guys decide to take a breather. Dobro guitar lends itself strongly giving it a Middle Eastern flair with heavy crescendos of bottleneck slide.
The rest of the songs? Nothing but a heavy onslaught of musical mayhem. Opening track "S.S.S." sets a frantic pace with its over-the-top exploration of fusion-rock. Sumitomo's guitar rises above the brigade of sound that Bluestone creates. "Got Your Spell On Me" has a funky intro that takes off into a Santana-esque jam driven by percussionist Takagi and Sumitomo's stamp of killer Les Paul runs. If your skull doesn't split in two at this point, consider yourself lucky.
Talk about non-stop excitement. You want some Gov't Mule? Well you will have it in "Electric Rainbow." This is slow heavy blues with guitar work coming from the Warren Haynes songbook. Bassist Ogasahara pumps out menacing bass lines that can be heard above an earthquake. If you haven't called the paramedics yet, here's your chance. Once Sumitomo puts the slide on, the barn starts to catch fire.
Snippets of Jeff Beck make their way into the moody "Real Gate." A lyrical bass solo recalls the mad genius of the late Jaco Pastorius but the song slips back into its dark fusion-y blues stomp.
Chris Duarte works with Bluestone and tours with them across the states as well as Japan. As much as Duarte is a killer player, Bluestone can do well enough on their own. If your a guitar junkie wanting to revel in the bliss of rocking bluesy guitar licks, then visit Grooveyard Records and order Supernatural Delight. It will be a great wake-up call.
Review by Gary Weeks