JOSÉ DEL RIO – Journey Into The Fourth Dimension

JOSÉ DEL RIO - Journey Into The Fourth Dimension


Lion Music
Release date: July 21, 2006

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

If the term “wanker” did not exist, it would now have to be coined, thanks to the myriad of notes and drum hits cataloged as LMC179, also known as Journey into the Fourth Dimension … although a sterile number seems more fitting than a name. If a rating system of Jim Carrey-isms were used to rate the baffling contrivances on this shred-fest, a disparaging “Allllllll righty, then” might suffice for some of the tracks. For others, better make it a “le-hoo … ze-hur.”

The Neoclassical culprits are José Del Rio (guitar/bass/production), Vitalij Kuprij (keyboards), Marco Cerda (drums), plus a contributing cast of characters on specific cuts. Perhaps the most annoying are the frequent blast-beat drums that preclude any semblance of rhythmic creativity. Compound those with keyboard and guitar arpeggios ad nauseam. Even during the token slow parts, Del Rio’s vibrato is usually a yanking around of the wammy bar, as if his prime directive were to let no passage go un-wanked, in one way or another. The icing on the cake is the third-rate production job, which has a bloated bottom, a squirrelly top, and no middle.

Three minutes of relief, where compositional credibility is concerned, are found in “Dreams of Wisdom and Prophecy,” a pleasant solo piece for nylon-string guitar. It does hold its own, in terms of classical form and melody, although the execution is less than perfect. The other clean piece, performed on electric guitar, is “Psychophony,” which is somewhat bland but has a nice atmospheric quality. It’s another not-so-low point on the album, if musicality is the measuring stick. Most of the other cuts — including the 12-minute title track — are basically comprised of sections of technically difficult noodlings, crude parts painstakingly stitched together to form one- to nine-minute things made to look and act kind of like songs.

The one and only creation on the album that doesn’t come at you with bolts sticking out of its neck and makes proper (i.e., musical) use of virtuoso guitar wizardry, is the six-and-a-half-minute “Beyond the Pillars of Hercules.” It begins with a chamber-orchestra feel led by a woodsy, celtic melody played on recorder; then it opens up to a larger, symphonic orchestration, with a lead guitar melody in unison with impressive operatic vocals, both male and female; Pilar Aguilera then sings a lead line that endears with a romantic, Ennio Morricone style; that gives way to incredibly fast and intense electric guitar harmonies accented with timpani; then it wraps up with an earthy, acoustic guitar outro. Surprisingly, the piece has coherence and seems to tell a story. Still, that cut is not enough to redeem the album on the whole from its insufferable, instrumental incontinence.

Why do these skilled musicians and many of their brethren in the Neoclassical Metal genre persist in pretentious overplaying and caricaturizing traditional, classical tonality and virtuosity? Is it a case of Yngwie envy? That term might point to the symptom, but it has an unfair connotation for the genre’s noble forefather. The root cause seems to be a failure to understand Yngwie Malmsteen’s musical genius, or a disregard for compositional integrity.

Granted, Yngwie has his moments when he runs away with his bad self, and that seems to be part and parcel of blazing new trails. Nonetheless, he succeeded in fusing the classical style and technique with the modern instrumentation and rhythmic structures of Rock/Metal in a way that treats virtuoso chops as a means to a compositionally artistic end, rather than as an end in themselves, showcased via choppy songwriting. It’s the difference between technical wizardry serving to create art worthy of a rating, on the Jim Carrey scale, of “smmmokin’!” — versus smoke-and-mirrors nonsense, as on 90% of Journey into the Fourth Dimension.


  • Jason Sagall

    Jason was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He was born in Illinois and currently reside in California, USA, where he works in the field of Information Technology, and is a freelance web consultant His favorite Rock and Metal subgenres include Classic, Progressive, and Power. He is a guitar fanatic and listen to a lot of Instrumental Rock and Fusion. Jason has been playing guitar as a hobby for some 25 years.  

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