80's, Groovy, Guitar-Hero, Instrumental, Melancholic, Old School
"Black 7 offers with "Look Inside" a generous instrumental album between heavy, metal and touching moments, which remains classic while being effective."
CALGEPO (11.10.2021)  
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Instrumental albums have always been popular in rock and metal music, with the guitar as the essential base. Many are those who are commonly called guitar heroes, among whom Joe Satriani, Steve Vai or Yngwie Malmsteen... These musicians have contributed, for some with a great critical and public success, to the influence of the essentially instrumental albums like classical music was at the time. Reduced to its simplest form and without words, it leaves the listeners almost free to feel the melodies and to forge their own stories.

It is in this furrow that Black 7 is inscribing itself with the aptly named "Look Inside", a first album that constitutes a sort of invitation to travel through the varied and plethoric universe of the German guitarist Lars Totzke. The musician offers from the start two dynamic tracks that lean towards the 80's and early 90's hard rock with rather classical riffs around which he weaves some well felt solos ('Unleashed'). Iron Maiden fans should enjoy 'Lead The Way' with its heavy side. In order not to exhaust his listener, Lars has built and thought his album in a way to bring him reliefs as if it was a question of climbing a mountain between power rise ('Awakening', a little too repetitive) and descent in harmonic softness of which the example is 'In My Dream' with restful acoustic accents then very melodic electrics like John Petrucci likes them.

Where the difficulty lies in this kind of album, it is not to bore nor to lose the listener on the way because of the lack of vocals by proposing sufficient breaks to catch and maintain the interest. Lars thus offers rather long tracks which could be part of progressive metal if they could benefit from a little more breaks. Among the successes of the album are the very pictorial 'Out Of The Box' with its assured melody that is enhanced by a few notes of synth, its metal counterpart 'Yeas Ago' whose tension rises to a crescendo adding a cinematographic surplus to its work, and even 'Mysterious World' in which Lars allows himself a few female choirs that give the album a more symphonic touch. The most touching track could be 'A Story To Tell' which seems to correspond the most to the concept of the record and to the notion of sharing of the musician, approaching a calm Dream Theater a la 'Surrounded'.

The album is generous, like its creator, probably a little too much. We would have liked perhaps less titles to avoid certain repetitions, or even a little more acoustic or exploration towards other styles like the blues to bring even more relief or density throughout the album. If for the experienced guitarists it will undoubtedly miss a small trick in more, for the others, this "Look Inside" will be a very good entry in the vast and particular world of the instrumental albums thanks to this musician who does not lack talent.

More informations on

01. Unleashed
02. Lead The Way
03. Lift Up
04. Awakening
05. In My Dream
06. Discover
07. Never Stop
08. Look Inside
09. Out Of The Box
10. Years Ago
11. Hear My Voice
12. Mysterious World
13. A Story To Tell
14. Time Of My Imagination

Lars Totzke: Guitares
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