Blacklight Chicago is the solo project from eighteen-year-old Ben Adams. Apparently he has been playing guitar for ten years which means he started at eight and he has been writing music for about eight years. He just released his first effort entitled Ellipsism.
Adams is a good guitarist. For his age he is certainly in the top echelon. He has excellent lead work which is what most of this album revolves around. His guitar is the main focus here as he blends different styles like prog rock, metal and more. Ellipsism really is quite impressive if you like to listen to masterful technical guitar. The issue I find with Ellipsism is the same with many other technical virtuosos. It rarely tugs at my emotional strings. If I listen to a song from Queen, Radiohead or Sigur Ros I can feel that music in my soul. Ellipsism is a case where again and again I was thinking that man oh man can this kid play but rarely did I feel the emotional resonance.
He opens with “Intro (A Series Of Unfortunate Events)” which is a very ambient intro which could have been trimmed down a bit. He had some cool sounds in there but it didn’t need to go past the one-minute-mark.
The intro transitions into “Launch” which could not have been more different. It very much launches off with an intense barrage of distortion, drums, bass and of course lead guitar. I was exhausted by the one-minute-mark and so was Adams as he simmers things down slightly. The song goes on for seven intense minutes. There are a myriad of changes and it is overstimulating to say the least.
“The Universe, In 2000 Years” and “City On A Spaceship” are both just as intense and dynamic as the first song. He closes with “Flatlined” which is eleven minutes long. The song is like a roller coaster and it just needs to be listened to.
Ellipsism reminds me of the guys at Guitar Center who will blow you away with their lead skills. It’s visceral, makes your jaw drop but also isn't going to make you cry. Adams is a young guy who has a lot of potential. He obviously has the technical skill but I would like him to transcend this genre a bit as he gets older. I understand he can play but I would like to see where else he could take it.
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