Bart M. : The mastermind behind Velocihamster is Sean Williamson. That is right: Velocihamster. A project that focuses mainly on one instrument: the lap steel guitar. I had never heard of it before. Granted, I had seen some musicians playing a guitar on stage while it was flat on their lap, but I always assumed this was because of some kind of handicap (I know it was a bit naive of me), not realising this was an instrument all on its own. It is a very good thing Sean created Velocihamster, among other reasons to get rid of these kind of misunderstandings, but also to see how far he could push the boundaries of this instrument. And I think he did a pretty great job.
I was pretty skeptical when I put on the album for the first time. It always seems a bit of a waste dedicating music to just one instrument. And indeed, the first time I listened to it the album sounded pretty chaotic and monotonous, plus it made me a little bit nervous, in the same way that jazz music does. But you cannot judge an album by listening to it once, especially in the interesting world of metal where albums get better and better the more you listen to them. So, naturally, I put it on a couple more times and man, an interesting world opened up! Each of the six songs has a very distinctive tone and setting and all of them offer interesting concepts. There is nothing monotonous about this at all. At first I did miss vocals (there is hardly any singing involved), but there is so much going on in each song (that all feature a lot more than just the lap steel guitar) that in the end vocals are not at all necessary to keep things interesting. It is hard to give this music a label but it sounds pretty much like intense power metal meets progressive rock, and I think it will appeal to a broad range of different metal fans. The loudest thing I am hearing here is a guy who is promoting his instrument in a very enthusiastic and convincing way. An instrument that may look a little lukewarm onstage, but trust me when I say it produces a very nice, heavy dose of noise! And also, it is not a bad thing that final song '1.O.T.D.' features a terrific Black Sabbath riff.