Instrumental albums are one of the hardest creations to do well when it comes to guitar based rock music. Artists such as Steve Vai, Paul Guilbert, Joe Satriani and Michael Angelo Batio have all stepped up to the bar to create some of the most insanely good instrumental albums of all time (‘Surfing With The Alien‘ anyone?). Next in line to have a pop at the world of guitar music sans vocals are Gilmore Trail, a four piece post-rock outfit from Sheffield, England. Does their bravery pay off however? Well, let’s have a listen and find out.
Opening track ‘Memories Of Redfern‘ sets the tone for the album immediately, with lush, sweeping chords interspersed with delicately picked melodies, all building up into a huge, crashing finale. For an opening number, it covers pretty much every single sonic base in rock. It’s powerful, effective and soaked with enough genuine emotion and evocative feeling from the band that, as a listener, a million memories flashed through my mind. My thought process became like a montage for some kind of American teen-Drama! A truly epic start!
The album continues in much the same vain, with subtle differences coming through in an obvious experimentation to push the boundaries of what constitutes modern rock music. Such forward thinking is a very brave move for the band, but my god does it pay off. ‘Ballard Down‘ pushes into an almost orchestral territory, with massive, timpani-style drums (all coming from a single standard drum-kit!), floating chords an gorgeous harmonic ideas.
Towards the latter half of the album there are moments where the symphonic power of it’s former half is lost, falling into an almost indie kind of feeling. ‘Shifting Sands‘ in particular feels a little lacklustre in comparison to a majority of the content on offer here. All through the listening, we were left waiting for the vocals to kick in at any moment, before remembering that here is a vocal free zone! Although this is a very small complaint, maybe the odd song with some kind of vocal would of helped to make the huge impact of the stunning instrumentals just that bit huger.
So, to summarise, this is not your standard rock album. This is possibly one of the deepest and most complex albums that will be released in 2015: rock music for the thinking music lover. The musicianship is nothing short of stunning, with incredible performances from each and every member of the outfit. To see these guys headlining a a huge festival stage, bathed in the red of the setting sun, would be an absolute ideal. Gilmore Trail are the real deal and have the potential to become a powerful force in the instrumental rock scene. With only one very minor grip to be found, it’s safe to say that this album is very much worth your time. Here at MOSH, we expect BIG things from these guys. This album is only the beginning.