“Points North” are a high energy, all systems go, guitar orientated heavy rock instrumental power trio from California. Comprising lead guitarist Eric Barnett, bass guitarist Uriah Duffy and drummer Kevin Aiello. This dynamic eleven track self-titled album, their second studio release, comprises an hours’ worth of ‘full on’, technically exact and very polished heavy metal style rock with a distinctly melodic edge. They are indeed an extremely tight musical unit swinging along together with boundless energy in seamless fashion such that their collective attributes mould together as one mighty force resulting in musicianship of the highest order. Each of the songs has an air of intricacy and a feel of complexity which is exacerbated by the pacey delivery forming what seems a preverbal curtain of heavy sound. The lead and bass guitars work together so exquisitely that at times there is an almost duel lead guitar affect with wonderful interplay between the two instruments as they embark on lovely little arpeggio runs and counter melodies. But of course the lead guitar with far more freedom of expression endlessly erupts from the basic music framework to delight us with a masterclass of complicated guitar playing techniques mixing together elements of rock, jazz, classical and finger picking styles. The stabilising strength behind the music and certainly not to be overlooked, is the drummer who’s excellent high energy timekeeping provides the solid platform for the guitar histrionics which, of course, dictate the overall sound of the band. Although this is a very solid album with a great deal of musical variety across the eleven tracks, to my ears it is a conspicuously heavy rock rather than progressive rock in nature
My internet forays surprisingly revealed that the band with the addition of singer Kristina Borja tread the boards under the name “Fred Barchetta” as a “Rush” tribute band.
Summary: A well balanced and superb guitar driven heavy rock extravaganza with eleven solid tracks and indeed what is a veritable masterclass in the art of lead guitar manipulation.
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