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On disc: Tommy Ermolli

Step Ahead - Claudia Ehrhardt - 7 stars

Step Ahead

Step Ahead
(Lion Music - 2009)

Tommy Ermolli is a young Italian guitarist and some will know him through his work with Twinspirits and Khymera. Now Ermolli presents his first solo album which is called Step Ahead. Tommy Ermolli got a helping hand by his band mates for the recordings. He opens up with Endless Space, a heavy guitar rock song with heavy riffs and melodic leads. The title track starts slowly and seems to take you onto a journey... An invitation to let the guitar carry you away into some dream world... Some complex passages give it a dash of art rock... The following Enlightening Darkness is heavier... more metal. Renewed has a 70's rock flavor due to the organ, but the melodic guitar play is far from being backdated! The song Magic was the one which started Ermolli's song writing for a solo album. The song was written after a close relative was killed in a car crash and has his nickname as the title. An emotional balladesque tune which will carry you away. After the dreamy tune it's time to rock again - Taking Control! But the track offers some slower, more balladesque passages - and towards the end gets quite heavy. The closer Arrival is a heavy, riff-based rocker and again on top of the riffage you find a catchy guitar melody. Due to the organ it partly reminds me of Deep Purple... But there is more to discover in Arrival. And in every other song of Step Ahead!
Tommy Ermolli is influenced by Joe Satriani, Andy Timmons, Steve Vai, Paul Gilbert and John Petrucci - and these influences are audible, but not too obvious. The album offers some rockers and some slow, balladesque tracks, but Ermolli always focus on the song, it's not an ego-trip to show off technical skills. And so the album is easily accessible and interesting for rock fans.

7 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt


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