Emir Hot is more than likely a name readers of this review have never heard of before! Emir is a thirty-year old guitarist who was born in Bosnia and Sevdah Metal is essentially his first release to ever hit the presses (they use presses for CDs nowadays right?). His biography pretty much reads like any other guitar hero’s (e.g., interested in guitar since age 5, attended music school, graduated from The Guitar Institute, etc.) and after reading his biography many people may assume he’s somewhat “mainstream.” What’s not stereotypical is Emir’s approach to writing and performing Neo-Classical music and the distinguished freshness he brings to the genre on Sevdah Metal!
Emir’s approach to neo-classical music includes mixing in touches of traditional Eastern Balkan music with plenty of influences taken from the “Sevdah” style of Bosnian music, which is akin to a Bosnian form of Blues. He accomplishes this by adding nuances of accordions, orchestration, piano, occasional female vocals, orchestral choir vocals, tempo changes and additional programming. All of these added “touches” give the compositions an epic feel, reminiscent of some of Queen’s finest work! To make things even more appealing Emir avoids over self-indulging in long, overdrawn guitar solos that were so reminiscent of a certain Swede’s early neo-classical works.
Emir was also leaving no room for error on this release as he managed to enlist the immense talents of John West (ex-Royal Hunt, Artension) on vocals and John’s fellow Artension band mate, Mike Terrana (Masterplan, ex-Malmsteen, Axel Rudi Pell), on drums. John West has managed to get better with age and puts in a remarkable performance here. Surprisingly, given the neo-classical based foundation John is working with, and how remarkably well he did, it’s a wonder why Malmsteen never pursued enlisting West himself. Terrana’s excellent performance is no surprise, with him being an experienced drummer in this musical genre.
To his credit and non-egotistical sensibility, Emir even extends some airtime to several friends on the epic, twelve-minute opus “Sevdah Metal Rhapsody”. Not only is Terrana afforded a drum solo but also Emir brings in several guitarist friends, including Muris Varajic, to play several guest solos on this same track.
One of the main highlights is the album’s full-length opener in “Devils In Disguise” with its incredible chorus that’s presented in an orchestral choir type format. Add in West’s strong performance and Hot’s compelling guitar work and your left with one blistering masterpiece.
Bottom line, this is the Neo-Classical release in 2008 to beat! With its strong, entertaining epic-like compositions, plenty of technically adept guitar playing and a memorable vocal performance it’s going to be a tough one to dethrone! Emir Hot is indeed a force to be reckoned with!
Emir Hot – All Guitars and Bass
Lorenzo Nizzolini – Keyboards
John West – Vocals
Mike Terrana – Drums
To find out the latest about Emir Hot visit his label’s web site at www.LionMusic.com or his official web site at www.EmirHot.com or lastly his MySpace website at www.MySpace.com/EmirHotGuitar.