Album Review: Amadeus Awad – Time of the Equinox
Lebanese musician Amadeus Awad is a guitarist, lyricist, and composer representing the Middle Eastern rock/metal scene…which I have to say is lacking. Let’s see if Awad can put his music on the metal/rock map. His latest album, Time of the Equinox, is loaded with melodic guitar. It’s no surprise that his listed influences are Joe Satriani, Michael Schenker, Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteen, Richie Blackmore, and David Gilmour. I guess right on two of these before I saw his list just based on the incredible guitar work I was listening to. You can easily pick out these influences throughout the 50+ minute album. That’s not to say Awad isn’t creative enough to make his own unique sound. What I am trying to say is that his music is top-notch caliber work. He obviously learned well from his influences and honed his craft to perfection; it is evident throughout the entire album.
Time of the Equinox is both a calming and electrifying experience wrought with emotive expression. On a several occasions, Middle Eastern musical influences enter the picture which I thought was attention-grabbing. The metal world is short on established acts from the Middle East, hence the comment above. It was enjoyable to hear these influences injected into Awad’s smooth progressive sounds.
From the moment Autumn Eyes begins the album, you’re drawn into the harmonies and solos. It’s not the most upbeat song to start your Amadeus Awad familiarity, but it doesn’t take long before the expansive guitar work takes over. And it is impressive! From the start, you understand what you are about to encounter; a collection of songs laced together for a musical experience. In the middle of the album, Paper Dreams – is a 3-part collection that boasts some of the fastest guitar work on the album. The songs are about average 3-4 minutes in length with the longest being just over 6-minutes. Each track takes you on an emotional rollercoaster ride of highs and lows with the end-result being a gratifying sensation of listening to a prodigious piece of work.
Despite being a predominantly guitar album, there is at least one song, Nostalgia, that features vocals (courtesty of Liz Vandal – Sahara) and piano only. It is a deeply emotional song that showcases incredible vocal ability. Although I do think vocals are impressive, I found myself drawn more to the instrumental work than those songs where vocals appeared. The instrumentals were powerful pieces of music.
Overall, Time of the Equinox a masterful expression through expansive guitar works and progressive styles in the fashion of Dream Theater, King Crimson, and guitar legend Joe Satriani. Still a strong album vocally, the instrumentals on this album are works of art! I was drawn into these songs and will look to listen to them often. Amadeus Awad is putting Lebanon on the rock/progressive map. Time of the Equinox is an impressive instrumental/progressive album loaded from start to finish with grandiose guitar talent.