Band: Dennis Williams
Band Website: www.gtrman.net
Label: Independent Release
Release Date: 2013
I’ve talked about composer and guitarist Dennis Williams in the past; you can even find an interview with him on the interview page of this site. Williams is based in Canada and Ascension is his 6th full-length CD. Williams is a classic solo artist, composing all the music, performing on guitars, bass and keyboards and producing all aspects of his music except the drumming which is provided by Lou Caldarola. Williams approach to the guitar is one that is inspired by the likes of Joe Satriani, Al Di Meola, John Petrucci and others resulting in a little jazz, a little classical finger picking, more than a little rock shredding and plenty of guitar notes flying fast and furious.
The 10 compositions on Ascension present a wide of variety of guitar sounds and styles from acoustic to electric, from jazz to rock, from flamenco to classical and through it all there is a cohesive thread, namely the stinging lead guitar lines that surface at points in each composition. While some songs are longer, six to eight minutes and some are shorter, three to five minutes, every composition is a musical journey moving through different phases and then many times returning to the songs core theme or melody. As I said at the beginning, Williams loves to put lots of notes out there and yet I find myself attracted to the moments where the level of performance is a little calmer and perhaps exuding more mood with less performance. There’s nothing like a long and moving sustain. As on previous releases, given that these are instrumental tracks, Williams likes to insert either sound effects or spoken word passages to help create the song’s “message.” He does that here on at least three tracks. I should also mention the title track “Ascension” [7:09] is lifted to another level with the addition of the symphonic opening passage composed by Marie-Anne Fischer. It’s a great opening and truly heightens the dramatic impact of the piece.
The music of Dennis Williams will certainly have some appeal to guitar fans out there, but I would suggest the music on Ascension may also hold some appeal to fans of heavier symphonic prog as well. Not intentionally progressive rock, many of these compositions, either because of their length or because of their subject matter do display plenty of musical change-ups. Check out the website above, it features lots of samples and you’ll see what I mean.