Hailing out of Chicago, and now residing in New England, Tom Kopyto has spent a decade building up a resume as a force to be reckoned with in the instrumental guitar arena. Following the 2000 release of YTK, he entered MusicMan’s “Best Guitarist on the Web” contest, taking home Best Rock Guitarist honors. He has appeared on numerous compilation CD’s, and is one of the most sought after instructors in the New England area. For his debut release for Shredguy Records, he has lined up an impressive array of musicians to help him, including Mark Zonder(Fates Warning), Jason Bittner(Shadows Fall), and Matt Garstka(Animals as Leaders) on drums. On bass is Andy DeLuca(Symphony X, James LaBrie’s Mullmuzzler), and joining him are fellow guitarist Mike Abdow(Last Chance to Reason) and Oli Herbert(All That Remains). With this tremendous amount of talent to play with, can Kopyto’s latest album, Resurrection, be anything but a solid piece of instrumental rock?
Resurrection consist of eight tracks spread over 35 minutes, and really leaves no room for resting or breathing for that matter. In the opening seconds of the first track, Black Inside, you already feel sorry for the instruments and the beating they are about to take. After a few seconds of distorted angst, the band kicks in with a rock solid sound, and Kopyto’s guitars are laced over it all. The man lives up to the hype folks, he knows how to play. Throughout the album, he takes the forefront, he is the face of the music, akin to where a lead vocalist would be, though any vocalist who tried to do the sound variations that Kopyto covers would have a very short lived career. Underneath his lead though, the band is as tight as can be. The rhythm guitars offer up a proper mechanical pace to the songs, keeping them chugging along. Drums are outstanding, filling in the gaps and balancing Kopyto’s relentless pace wonderfully. The fourth track, Naked in Death, highlights this well, as the band and Kopyto blend together in a tight mesh to deliver a brilliant four minutes of music. The beating pace keeps the song rocking, and the flares come often and brightly. Just a kick ass tune really.
The real potential of the collected group of musicians is exposed in the final song and title track Resurrection. This is where they succeed in the ever difficult task of conveying a mood and scene without any lyrical content at all, the pinnacle achievement in my eye for any instrumental piece. We see the entity at its bottom, signified by the subtle snare rhythm, the pulsing bass beat, and Kopyto’s faint guitar laced over. The complexity changes, builds, increases, as the entity gathers around it more and more life, though that initial bass beat is an always present heartbeat to signify the revival of life. It’s an altogether brutally dramatic slice of music.
In the end, Kopyto delivers what he intended to, a solid collection of instrumental pieces that really showcase his immense talents. Of course, the talents he paints his musical picture on are equally solid, bringing together a wonderfully entertaining album.
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