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Mads Eriksen

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Album Review

To hear myopic jazz purists tell it, there is absolutely no difference between instrumental jazz-rock fusion and instrumental rock. But, in fact, there is a world of difference, and jazz purists who make that foolish claim do a disservice to both. While fusionists like Al DiMeola and Scott Henderson combine jazz with rock and funk, instrumental rock is exactly that — it is rock without vocals and can be the instrumental equivalent of Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, Rush, or Deep Purple. Comparable to Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, and Randy Coven, Norwegian guitarist Mads Eriksen is a perfect example of a rock instrumentalist. This self-titled CD, which was recorded in 1993 and 1994, is loud and aggressive but intricate. Eriksen loves his power chords, but he doesn't live for bombast alone — and because of that intricacy, some people might compare the Scandinavian axeman to fusion guitarists. But, again, there is a major difference between what fusionists do and what a rock instrumentalist does. John McLaughlin and Pat Metheny are rock influenced,but have a jazz mentality — they live for improvisation, just like Charlie Christian, Grant Green, Barney Kessel, and Wes Montgomery before them. Eriksen, however, has a rock mentality. When Metheny's Letter From Home is playing, one hears a debt to Montgomery and Jim Hall; when this chopfest of a CD is playing, one realizes that Eriksen would have been perfect for Queensryche, Iron Maiden, Rush, or just about any other heavy metal, hard rock, or arena rock band that is both forceful and musical. However, being a solo artist is the ideal situation for Eriksen, because his electric guitar takes center stage (as opposed to serving the needs of a vocalist). Anyone who has spent a lot of time listening to Vai, Satriani, and Coven is advised to give this album a close listen.


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s

Norwegian-born Mads Eriksen released his first album, Journey, in 1990. The disc quickly set him in the guitar hero section of the musical genre, that area reserved for people like Yngwie Malmsteen and Joe Satriani. He followed that album up the next year with Storyteller. 1993 saw Eriksen releasing an ambitious effort entitled Intermission Troldhaugen. The album was a tribute to Norwegian classical composer Edward Grieg. The next year he let loose with an album simply and eloquently called Mads...
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Mads Eriksen, Mads Eriksen
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