Fireworks

Rich Antonelli - 'Voiceless' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/68/8c/c0/rich-antonelli-voiceless-6-1412103774.jpg Hot

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Well-crafted, emotional, six string-laden tales of how gently can a guitar weep and how intensively can it wail.

After recording and releasing ‘Tales From The Crib’ with Hard Rock act Skyhigh back in the mid 1990s, Rich Antonelli has remained busy... impersonating Richie Sambora. Yes, you’ve just read that right – Antonelli is the lead guitarist in Bon Jersey, the “Ultimate Bon Jovi Tribute Band”, complete with an arsenal of the King of Swing’s signature guitar licks, raspy-but-sensual backing vocals and of course, the ‘Wanted’ gamblers hat. It is therefore understandable that there is also a heavy Sambora (and 1980s Hard Rock in general) influence found in Antonelli’s non-tribute musical works, one of which is his recently released solo instrumental album ‘Voiceless’.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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One thing about the album is that it has been released independently from any established record label, allowing ‘Voiceless’ to be as genuine as it could be. The other is that it’s only Antonelli’s sheer passion for the art of caressing the guitar that does the talking here. Stripped down to the instrumental base and deprived of lyrical content and the all-telling vocals, it’s only the beauty of the music that speaks and it actually speaks volumes. Listen to ‘The Beginning’, a nod and a wink to Antonelli’s actual beginnings in music; these muscular Hard Rock riffs are clearly 1980s Glam Metal-infused, complete with the Sambora-esque talk box effect. Check out the heavier and somewhat gloomy ‘Rattlesnake Stew’, flavoured with the very distant, yet distinguishable echoes of the contemporary Southern Rock sound, or the melancholic, tense ‘Peaceful Sorrow’. ‘Groovy Tuesday’ is indeed a groovy – and feisty – piece of guitar shredding. With the final track ‘Peace’ or the melodic, ballad-esque ‘Saturday Night Serenade’, one simply wishes the giant Bon Jovi would learn a lesson from a musician who’s from their tribute band and enhance the quality of their last few albums with some passionate six-string embellishment. This is something Antonelli doesn’t hesitate to enrich his music with. And although the album’s title is ‘Voiceless’, (and ‘voiceless’ are the ill children) the album’s proceeds are donated to Paediatric Department of the Hasbro Children’s Hospital; here it’s the universal and most unique voice and language that speaks, the voice and language of music.

On ‘Voiceless’, Rich Antonelli played all the instruments bar the drums, making the album a real showcase of his varied talents and musical sensitivity. Although a generic Sambora copy was what one might have expected – and his influence is present – it’s a subtle, shimmering one in undertones and flavours rather than being blatantly mimicking. It’s something only die-hard Sambora/Bon Jovi fans, I believe, will really pick up; the “remaining” listeners will be treated and rewarded with well-crafted, emotional, six string-laden tales of how gently can a guitar weep and how intensively can it wail.

Alexandra Mrozowska

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