Sammy Berell is an extremely talented, classically-influenced guitar slinger from suburbian Stockholm. In the past he’s worked with vocalists Göran Edman and Mike Vescera, and, on new album Beyond The Veil he’s teamed up with singer Mark Boals.
Can you see the pattern emerging yet?
In simple terms, Beyond The Veil might be seen as little more than an Yngwie Malmsteen knockoff, but clearly there’s more at play here; Malmsteen isn’t an artist any fool can emulate, and on superb instrumental All The Devine Berell proves himself to be a player of no little skill, wrenching flurries of notes from his guitar (you know the type he uses), yes, but wrenching them with consummate style and, most importantly, feel. It is, in fact, some of the best playing I’ve heard in this field since Malmsteen’s epic 1985 masterpiece Marching Out… But at the end of the day you just keep returning to the thought – if he’s this good why is he content simply to retread old ground?
Boals handles the vocal tracks capably enough, although his position in the Malmsteen mythos as a poor man’s Joe Lynn Turner is upheld on the power ballad Pure. He’s not helped by the raw nature of the production, but at the end of the day his vocals never quite arrest the ears in the way Berell would have hoped for.
Better, then, probably to focus in this instance on the instrumental cuts, which are well put together if entirely unoriginal. That said, the guitar playing on Angel of Mercy, say, is utterly faultless, and it’s easy to see this album appealing to a new generation of up-and-coming bedroom guitarists looking for their own idol to look up to. Sadly I’m not a guitarist, and I probably won’t listen to this album again, although Berell is definitely a name to keep tabs on in the future. If he gets a decent studio environment to work in and some more, higher quality non-instrumental tracks to work with, he might be on to something.
Anybody got Jeff Scott Soto’s number?
Beyond The Veil releases on October 29th.