MILAN POLAK – Straight

MILAN POLAK - Straight
  • 8/10
    MILAN POLAK - Straight - 8/10


Lion Music
Release date: April 20, 2007

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Many great guitarists have tried “it” … Gary Moore, John Sykes, Steve Vai, and even Joe Satriani has dabbled in “it.” What exactly is “it?” Of course, it’s about moving from either side of the stage to the center and using the microphone. After two successful guitar instrumental albums, Austrian guitarist Milan Polak has decided to throw his hat into the vocal release “ring” with his latest, self-financed endeavor entitled Straight.

The “concept,” if it can truly be called that, behind Straight and its cover of a naked Milan Polak, who has his guitar strapped, conveniently, lower than normal, is about a “straight ahead” sound, musical approach, and production with “no effects and no bullshit.” Fans will get exactly what Polak has intended as this album delivers thirteen tracks of guitar/Blues-based Rock with Polak providing the vocals. Polak also has a strong backing band that is no stranger to this approach, with assistance from Randy Coven and John Macaluso (both Ark and Malmsteen veterans) providing the “rhythmic backbone muscle.”

It will be evident to Polak fans as soon as the laser hits the CD that this is no instrumental release, as the disc opens with some commendable, multi-tracked Polak vocals. In fact, Polak fans might be surprised to find that one of the most endearing qualities of this new release isn’t necessarily Polak’s playing, but is indeed his vocal performance. Milan’s approach is much akin to Eric Martin’s during his Mr. Big era. In fact, fans of early Mr. Big might find more than a few tracks here that will remind them of that band’s approach. Point in case is the track “Hero,” which is a slower, acoustical number, but fans won’t mind because Polak’s vocals here are heartfelt, melodic, and moving … a very strong and memorable track with hit potential written all over it.

Musically speaking, tracks tend to run the gamut from Modern Rock to Blues Rock; a more conventional Rock sound and Blues. There are plenty of moments like “Psychobitch,” “Some Kind Of Jesus,” “Happy Now?” and “Favorite Vices” that should please fans of more aggressive, guitar-driven Rock. The latter track, in fact, flirts with guitar fanatics’ emotions by sporting an awesome, faded out instrumental, which is a throwback to Milan’s earlier instrumental days (P.S. see Metal Express Radio’s exclusive written interview with Milan for more on this).

Speaking lead guitar-wise, fans will find solos tend to be short, but punchy, memorable, and in some cases devastatingly fast (as in the title track), but overall perhaps not lengthy enough to appease guitar fanatics, though that’s not what this release is about. Lyrically speaking, you’ll find songs about relationships, dealing with one’s self, fake lifestyles, reality TV, desperate people seeking fifteen 15 minutes of fame, and reflections upon life. Needless to say, Polak has put some adequate thinking into the writings on this self-financed release.

Bottom line, Milan has accomplished what he set out to do with flying colors. For diehard fans of his instrumental work, this format change might be viewed initially as a turn-off before even listening to the release. After several listens, though, those same fans should be comfortable with the format change and will learn to embrace it as they will see that Polak has musically more to offer than fans might have garnered from his instrumental releases. If you’re a fan of classic Mr. Big and straight ahead Rock, then this release should definitely be on your shopping list!


Milan Polak – Vocals, Acoustic & Electric Guitars, Additional Basses, Percussion, Blues Harp
Randy Coven – Bass
Fabio Trentini – Bass
John Macaluso – Drums


  • Scott Jeslis

    Scott is one of the partners at Metal Express Radio. He handles a lot of Metal Express Radio's public relations, screening of new music and radio scheduling. On occasion, he also does reviews and interviews. He has been a proud member of the Metal Express Radio crew since 2004.

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