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Handz Of Danz "Handz Of Danz": Independent Review

Handz Of Danz
Review of "Handz Of Danz"


@ iTunes
By: Nick Martinelli

letter he Handz of who? The Handz of Danz that is. I think their was some first name discrimination when it came to selecting guitarists to play on this instrument chop fest. The reason I say this is, because all the guitar players that appeared on this CD are named Dan or Daniel! Coincidence or not, but these Dan(s) tear up the fret boards like nobody's fool.

So let's introduce the Dans! Dan McAvinchey, Daniel Wentworh, Dan Begelman, Denny Masters, Dan McInerne, and Dan Shimmyo. That was a mouthful wasn't it. The musicianship on this record is awesome, so you'll get your daily dose of shred. I truly believe that we have a lot of talent on this album and I know everyone that's a fan of instrumental guitar or guitar driven music will die to get their hands on a copy of "The Handz of Danz." This recording is a milestone in my book, because if you add up all the fingers used in the recording of this CD, it's bound to be some dangerous guitar playing. So let's dive deep into the world of The Danz.

Track one "Flying' Down the 94" has to be on of the most killer album openers I've heard in ages. It's a very powerful driving guitar riff that would a great sound track for some high speed pursuits on the express ways, hence the song title. Daniel Wentworth wins the best guitar riff on the CD award with this one! The guitar playing by Daniel Wentworth is nothing short of smokin'. Daniel is a hot guitar player and after hearing his work for the first time I will be visiting www.guitar9.com and picking up some more of his work. He really knows how to write a great instrumental song. I love his use of hook lines (reoccurring melodies) that appear many times through out the song. A highlight of this song is his use of major key soloing, that's are rare bird these days in instrumental guitar playing. 1:02 - 1:14 really knocked my socks off, it's a great palm muted climb with a major feel and a tad of WAH WAH blended. Other techniques that stand out is Dan's trem bar chirping, (fast smacking of the trem bar to accent a note or notes) reminds of the licks the boys from Stryper used to do all the time, melodic super fast hammer on and pull off use is another, and crazy pentatonic antics. It's nice to see that cool guitar tricks are still being used today. Wentworth's shredding is a major addition to this CD and I think his songs really stick out from the bunch.

"Six Fingers" track two, by Dan Begelman (Project 7) is a medium paced upbeat happy song with lots of life. The main riff sounds like it should have appeared on a UFO or Michael Schenker record, this song just rocks. It's a hard rock anthem that's for sure! Begelman's leads are tight that's for sure. He uses lots of bends which give the song a soulful feel. I also like his use of more slower paced leads. The groove of this song doesn't require a million notes and Dan's writing is very cool. I like the main riff that reinstates itself through out the track very much. The main lead section at 2:14 kicks the song up notch with his pentatonic rippin'. Begelman has a awesome bend technique and it's one of his coolest attributes.

"Extemporalis" song three opens with a massive jam riff that sets the pace for the rest of the song. Dan Shimmyo has a knack for coming up with some great walking guitar lines, and the main riff is a excellent display of that. The one thing that stands out about this song is that there are lots of rhythm parts, I like how Shimmyo used mellower leads through out the track. He does tear it up though. 2:11 begins one killer repeating lead lick that really got me jamming. His main lead following that has so much soul it's not even funny. It's very tasteful and upbeat as well, he starts off medium paced and then kicks it up and starts ripping out some killer lines. Over all this was a cool song, that was well written and composed. Lastly, I also liked his use of effects to help give the guitar sound a nice texture. Now, only if all lead tones sounded this good.

"Fingerz & Handz" track four from Dan McAinchey, starts of with a major shred fest that festers into a double lead harmony that just plan rocks. McAvinchey is a great player with a some great chops. This song had a heavier and darker sound than most of the other songs on the CD. I loved the main lead section in this track, it was very well put together and it's what a good main lead section should sound like. McAvinchey also used many repeating licks, which is some thing that is sought after in the instrumental guitar world. Got leads? Dan's got em!

Track five "Vienna," really suck out when I first listened to it because of it's wonderful classical influenced overtone. This is no Yngwie rip off either, Danny Masters has a smoking neo-classical style that is a lot more original than most neo-classical shredders out there today. This song was written and sounds like a real classical piece that could be performed by a full orchestra. I think Mozart and Beethoven would have been proud. It's very upbeat and on the go for a classical song. The main melody line is very melodic and locks deep into the heart of the song. Masters is a true neo-classical genius that's fore sure.

Dan McInerney's "Mabton Gateway To Bickelton," track six first of all has the weirdest song title, and I'd love to know how he came up with it. Moving on to the song, it's cool sounding number with lots of flare and some interesting guitar playing. His leads aren't normal sounding that's for sure. But not in a bad way, he does some real cool lines and passages. His leads seem very fresh and vibrant. Overall the song is cool, it has a sunny day type feeling to it. A get up and go sound track, if you will. Dan's guitar tone kills as well. It's very clean and smooth sounding, he must have spent a lot of time dialing this one in. It really adds to the layering of the song.

"Ten Feet Tall" song seven by Daniel Wentworth starts off different than all the others do it starts off with a jamming walking bass line, then Wentworth smacks you in the face with some killer WAH WAH playing. He really uses it as a tool or an extension of the guitar. It's not overboard, it's used to enhance the tone of the lead and it really fits this song well. The main repeating lick is very giant, hence the song title. This song really does feel rather large. Lots of textures and layering to the instruments. The leads are smokin, and always have a good groove movin'.

Dan Simmyo's "Sixty Cycle Hum" track 8 has a dark and machine like vibe to it. I think it should be added into the next "Terminator" sound track that's for sure. I can just imagine robots being forged from steel, and brought to life as the song plays, aiding the machines rise from the piles of steel and bolts and molten metal. This song has a very dark and almost industrial sound to. Industrial in the machine sounding sense. The song is very visual, I guess is what I'm trying to say. Any music videos planned? Getting back to the song, the leads smoke, and the rhythm guitars keep the song moving full speed ahead. Dan uses lots of different techniques and varies his playing speeds, from slow bends to all out tremolo picking and runs. This was a killer song and one of my favorites from the CD. Dan's outro solos really rips so check them out a few times, and man do they get fast.

"River Danz" track nine is without a doubt the most different sounding and original sounding song on the whole CD! I loved the Scottish folk vibe. His leads actually sound like they were being played on a bag pipe. I don't know how he managed that guitar tone, but they do sound like them. The main lick is very cool and has a definite folk feeling to it. Then he brings it up a notch and starts shredding like crazy during the middle of the song. 2:40 - 2:42 has got to be one of the coolest licks I've heard in a while. Dan did a great job combining shred and the traditional influence of the song. Old meets the new.

Track ten "The Last Night" from Dan Begelman is the longest song on the CD clocking in at 11:11. It opens with a very spatial sounding keyboard line later blended with guitar. The tune is very spacey sounding and focuses on being of epic portions. Leads don't come in for some time though. Dan did a great job of creating an altered state felling. His leads also have that element of surprise to them as well. This song has a very progressive vibe to it that's for sure. It moves between slow moody parts to faster driving riffs. But the song always goes back to a resolution for each part. The composition was very well put together, and it flows like butter.

"Cha Chaw" song eleven has a 80's feel to it, a new wave kind of feel. I get a little fusion impression from it as well. I like the use of keyboards in this song. Can you just imagine the trades offs live. The song does have a life of it's own being very different from the rest of the CD. The leads also are very upbeat and carry that fusion flag all the way. I had to listen to it a few times over to take it all in, there's a lot going on and it's easy to miss a cool lick.

Song twelve "Texas Wind" (live) from Danny Masters really surprised me with this one, seeing that his last track was a neo-classical monster piece. He does show his soulful and laid back side with this one that's for sure. Danny cranks out some killer pentatonic bluesy leads that cry for a cup of soul. It's cool to see two totally different sides of a player on a CD. He has killer speed chops and at the same time can rip out some bad a&# blues licks. These leads have lots flavor and spice, they suck you in and make you see notes spinning around your head. Great job Danny, you really must have had the blues the day this song was written because it's got the soul of a troubled man.

Track thirteen, "Falling Down" Daniel Wentworth is a medium paced song that has giant sound to it. Nothing but atmosphere here. Wentworth backs off the speed and flare in this on to showcase his soulful side and man was I impressed with it. Wentworth belts out some killer bending lines that scream. Again, you have a guitarist showing his opposite side with this one. "Falling Down" was very well written and rocks the house. It's a song you'll defiantly put one repeat a few dozen times. Another thing to mention, is that his guitar tone is awesome throughout the song, it adds to the life of each bent note and lick and helps create the massive wall of sound I'm talking about. It's very well put together, each part flows painlessly into the next and never goes against the theme of the track.

"Reflections" song fourteen by Dan Shimmyo finishes of the CD with lots of class. This song is very slow paced and is very atmospheric. It opens with some cool mellow guitar and keyboard lines, then shortly it gets a kick in the butt from a very heavy metal sounding riff. At 1:14, Dan kicks in the evilest sounding scale, the Harmonic Minor scale and will scare the hell out of you with his scary leads. The middle section really caught me off guard. The song started off all slow and peaceful then got dark. Like a thunderstorm that creped in without you even knowing about it. Dan's uses a combo of great heavy metal rhythm playing combined with some fast lead playing. The song also has a progressive feel to it as well. Check out the smokin' double harmony guitar solo starting at 4:07, now that one was one of the coolest ones on the whole CD.

Looking back it was quite a pleasure hearing six different guitar players with six very different playing styles on one CD. There is a lot of variety on this release that's for sure, from upbeat metal, to fusion, to blues and progressive rock. "Flyin Down the 94" was one of my favorite songs on the CD, because of it's non stop driving guitar riffing and melodic leads. "River Danz" really surprised me with it's ethnic vibe. "Vienna" really stuck with me for it's excellent neo-classical. "Extemprlis" for it's total jam feel. "Mabton Gateway to Bickelton for is fusion madness. Lastly "Six Fingers" for great rhythm guitar work and leads. Guitar 9 really came up with a cool concept with this one, great musicians and good music. I can just imagine what they'll come up with next, and I know it will be cool. So get your handz on this great guitar driven release, it's one for guitarists who love lots of different flavors of guitar playing. You get it all on this one that's for sure. How about "The Handz of Bobz" next?

© Nick Martinelli / The Shred Zone


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