Scarlet-The Director’s Cut is the latest CD to land on my desk for review, by another artist that I was not aware of, one Dave Kilminster. I have previously commented that this is one of the perks of reviewing CDs is that some are by artists that wouldn’t normally feature on my radar. Checking out Dave Kilminster, I was very interested to find that he is a hugely respected guitarist, named Guitarist of the Year by Guitar Magazine in 1991. He has played with many of the “Big Chiefs” in the prog world, such as John Wetton, Carl Palmer, Keith Emerson and Ken Hensley. He also, apart from playing, writes, teaches, engineers and produces and was recently seen playing lead guitar in Roger Waters live projects, Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall.
This was certainly an excellent pedigree and so I settled down to listen to Scarlet-The Director’s Cut with some anticipation. What we have here, is a guitarist who has the skill and the confidence to “let rip” when necessary, but also appreciates there are times to tone things down and be a bit more “laid back.” My first thoughts on this album after several plays, was that this is a well thought out revisit of his first solo album and while I would not class the music as prog, (probably my assumption considering the artists he has played with), it falls into the melodic rock area with leanings in a variety of different directions.
Scarlet-The Director’s Cut is comprised of 10 tracks with a total running time of about 62 minutes. Track 2, “Static” is the shortest track at 4:31 minutes with the penultimate track, “Rain…”On (Another Planet) clocking in at 9:33 minutes.
My favorite tracks at the moment, having listened to the cd several times, especially in the car, would be “Static” (4:31), the penultimate track, “Rain…(On Another Planet)” (9:33) and the final track, “Harkness” (7.32).
“Static” is a memorable guitar driven rock song which has killer hooks and melodic passages to keep the listener well involved. Nothing too complex in this song, but the sort that hangs around in your head long after it has finished.
The two later tracks, “Rain” and “Harkness” probably nudge more into the prog area. ”Rain” starts with a simple choral melody before the superbly melodic guitar of Dave Kilminster appears, picking out a motif that runs throughout the track. The vocals suit the track perfectly, and indeed the vocals contribute to the amazing overall sound of the album, being varied enough always to engage the listener.
“Harkness” begins with an orchestral/piano melody before Dave Kilminster’s voice, this time a bit more forceful, appears. The piano carries the track purposefully through the first 3 minutes, before the guitar
(and drums/bass) take over, changing the whole feeling of the track, becoming much heavier and driving.
Again the guitar is used very well, upfront when required, but never outstaying its welcome, and always underpinning the track.
The guitar skills that are shown by Dave Kilminster on this album certainly explain why he is at the top of the lists when people are looking for a lead guitarist, and that brings us full circle back to the people mentioned at the start of the article.
While not “blown away” by Scarlet-The Director’s Cut, this is an extremely good melodic rock album. All the tracks show a maturity and thoughtfulness in the way that they are structured, and I feel that this album is one I will dip into from time to time, but not necessarily play from start to finish. Certainly worth a listen.
Key Tracks: Static, Rain… (On Another Planet), Harkness
Jim “The Ancient One” Lawson-MuzikReviews.com Staff
January 29, 2013