For those of you who have heard of Obscura, Necrophagist & Spawn of Possession, Müenzner must be a familiar name. And for those few of you living under a rock, Christian Müenzner is a very talented German guitarist who can shred, sweep and melt faces like there’s no tomorrow. And with Timewarp, Müenzner shows in every way how he is different (and better) from your typical 20-mindless-notes-per-second guitar wankers and Bach/Mozart rip-offs. Shredheads, revel in the glory of your new lord.
The idea of a solo guitar album may seem dull to some, appalling to others, and they usually are. But Timewarp takes the shred/guitar based fusion music to just another echelon. Obviously listening to Obscura, Necrophagist put in the picture that this guy can shred, but I never imagined that Müenzner’s guitaristic balls were so damn heavy when it comes to phrasing and composing. The album starts off with Maybe Tomorrow which is a hearty indulgence to listen to. Implacable drumming, string-skipped runs, striking arpeggios and some licks which unquestionably sound like 8 finger tapping, just accustoms you with what this monster of an album has to offer you. In comes Confusion & The Tell-Tale Heart both of which features some of the stupendous shred moments. Both truly showcase the technical ability and the knowledge of the instrument that Müenzner possess. The title track Timewarp is the shortest tune in the album. Clocking less than 2 minutes, this tapping arpeggio extravaganza really says a lot about what the whole album has to offer. Next up is Victory which demonstrates some of the serious jaw-dropping runs & licks. This song also features very hummable parts which you cannot get out of your head, no matter how hard you try. Rocket Shop has a really early Greg Howe vibe to it which in turn makes song very very enjoyable. The intro runs & the groovy bass are a sure thing to bring a smile on your face, the kind of smile when you first heard Jason Becker’s Air or Malmsteen’s Far Beyond the Sun. Soulmates is doubtlessly my personal favorite track on the whole album. Starting off with a clean 3 chord intro arpeggio and transforming into a beautiful masterpiece showing every aspect of the splendid technique that Müenzner possess. The solo has a very obvious Greg Howe feel. From chord selection to the key changes, everything binds together just perfectly. Over The Mountains & Wastelands remarkably shows the ostentatious phrasing and brazen use of techniques in most remarkable sense. While the latter clocks over 8 minutes, it still keeps you enthralled. Dawn of The Shred, as the name suggests is indeed a shred affair which will make most of the shredheads cum out of their ears. Exhibiting some of the most insane arpeggios, runs, licks, sweeps, tapping, legatos and what not, this is indeed the quintessence of what tasteful shred is all about. The Gunslinger has your typical verse, bridge and chorus theme and a very catchy middle/solo section. This song also features some of the most unforgettable and haunting licks of the whole album. Album ends with Endless Craven which starts off with a very Indian/Middle-Eastern sitar-ish sound and builds up into 7 minute instrumental bullion. In all, these 66 minutes of breathtaking guitar wizardry leaves you with such an impact that you cannot stop yourselves from hitting the replay button again. And just once more.
Müenzner draws a very fine line in between capturing the essence from his vast influences and his original sound. Nothing on this almost-perfect album seems pushed. Everything comes out together naturally. Even in the parts where he plays more-notes-per-second-than-human-mind-can-comprehend, the true soul lies in the tone, flawless playing technique and the gift of phrasing that this man possesses. While most of his contemporary counterparts are getting into so called ‘Djent’ scene, it’s very comforting to find such artists who stay true to their music and write stuff which indeed shows the respect they have for their influences. This album is not intended for your typical metalhead crowd, but it’s a taste to be savor by only a few, who appreciate the beauty of what is known as shred.