Friday, December 14, 2012

Joe Matera-Creature Of Habit

WAR Productions/Mercury Fire Music

When Australian independent guitarist Joe Matera contacted me recently, to see if I'd be interested in reviewing his new album "Creature Of Habit", I have to admit that I was unfamiliar with his name. Having made it a mission to never turn down a review inquiry though, especially from independent artists/underground bands, I gladly accepted the request and set about familiarizing myself with the instrumental guitarist in question. Now, since I am being honest about having never heard of Joe Matera before this I feel that I must also be honest and state that I've never been a huge fan of instrumental rock albums to begin with. Off hand, as the passing days and the ever growing collection of gray hairs slowly go about disposing a lifetime of music-related memories, the only instrumental album I can recall having ever enjoyed was "Surfing with the Alien" by Joe Satriani. Regardless, having armed myself with an open mind, I went about listening to Joe's new album as he created the soundtrack for the evenings activities. That soundtrack ended up being damn near perfect in retrospect. "Creature Of Habit" is the sort of album that makes me question  my position when it comes to instrumental rock releases. I'm not going to suggest that I will suddenly run out and pick up every instrumental rock LP I can get my hands on, but I will say that "Creature Of Habit" hit all the right notes for me. Without a doubt what makes "Creature Of Habit" work so well is it's soulful take on instrumental rock and roll. Not soulful as in soul music though. Rather, Joe Matera recorded an album's worth of material that finds the emphasis, rightfully and perfectly, placed on playing great rock music that is full of emotion. Thankfully, this album stays as far away as possible from any neoclassical nonsense that. while technically solid, is all but devoid of any real emotional attachment. With "Creature Of Habit" it's a feeling of relief for me to have been wrong about any preconceived notions about instrumental rock. As I've now listened to this album several times through, all of this since having only downloaded the album last night, it's a safe bet to say the well-crafted, perfectly executed rock music on display here is a winner. The album is full of catchy material that expertly conveys a colorful rainbow of emotions. With the addition of numerous guest musicians this melodic rock album left a good feeling all around. Among the musicians who backed up Joe on "Creature Of Habit" are Tony Dolan (Yes, the same Tony Dolan of Venom, Mantis fame) who handles bass duties on three tracks, The Angels' Rick Brewster (Guest solo on "No Way!") and Smokie's Mick McConnell ("Outland" features a great guitar solo from Mick). Both Brewster and McConnell appeared on Matera's 2011 EP, "Slave To The Fingers" and on the new album their contributions do not go without notice. Additionally, Fred Mascherino (Taking Back Sunday, The Color Fred, Terrible Things) provides a killer guitar solo on the cut "Endless Summer" and co-producer/Angelic Rage member James Strickler pulls double duty by playing drums and handling bass duties on several songs. These guests didn't go through the motions though. The end product is much more then just effective rock. With a real sense of purpose and a sound that is genuine and honest (One need only listen to the album's sole vocal track the sincere "Fallen Angel" to hear this) "Creature Of Habit" is simply a great listen start to finish. Speaking of "Fallen Angel", which has it's own video (See link below), this cool song has a wonderful Tom Petty meets eighties hair metal balladry vibe to it. Joe's vocals create a real sense of honesty to the number and help "Fallen Angel" cut to the heart of the matter. Hopefully Joe will be convinced to sing a bit more on future releases. To order your own copy of "Creature Of Habit" see the link below. As I close this review I just have to say I'm glad that Joe, who just returned from a European tour in support of the new album, gave me a chance to listen to a album that makes me rethink my feelings about instrumental rock. If more albums had the same kind approach, where the music is both melodic and full of muscle, I could really start to get into the genre.

 To order and purchase your copy of 'Creature of Habit' go here:


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