Utopia, the technical metal group centred around guitarist John Bailey and Corrupt Moral Altar vocalist Chris Reese have just released their debut album Stalker via APF Records (order here).
The albums see John and Chris joined by an impressive list of guest musicians such as drummers Billy Rymer, Baard Kolstad (Leprous) Lee Fisher (Fawn Limbs/Psyopus) and Si Blakelock (Tangaroa/Dream Troll) alongside guitarist Simon Peter King, bassist Arran McSporran (De Profundis/Virvum) and finally keyboardist Mike Moran (Ozzy Osbourne/George Harrison).
The band got together 3 quite different and interesting records that have influenced them a lot in the making of Stalker…
Allan Holdsworth – Secrets
The Dillinger Escape Plan – Calculating Infinity
The first thing that comes to mind when I think about this album is how violent it is. It’s intellectually, musically, sonically extremely violent. I love how disorientating it is. When I was a in college, many years ago, me and my pals would try and figure out what was going in. Heavy music is kind of cathartic and I really found a catharsis in this particular album. I was so glad to get Billy Rymer on a couple of tracks on Stalker. Dillinger really put me on to learning jazz. I left the metal scene until last year and have just spent the last 15 years playing jazz and classical music!
Julian Bream – JS Bach Lute Works
It wasn’t necessarily this exact album but I love how he plays Bach. I’ve actually linked you to an Albeniz piece! All of Julian Bream’s work is incredible. Probably the biggest thing I learnt studying Bream is the importance of every note and of playing every note as carefully and with as much intent as possible. I watched his masterclasses religiously and every concert I could find. I spent a lot of time working on classical guitar and toured some pieces for a year or so to open up my right hand. The Britten Nocturnal was a real eye opener and there’s so many concepts in there which transpose over to jazz and our brand of metal. I tried several times to try and meet him but alas, he died before I could make it happen.