Sjak : The sad story of guitar player Jason Beck will not be unknown to most Lords Of Metal readers. In his younger years together with Marty Friedman he formed the core of the band Cacophony with whom he has released two fantastic albums in the shape of ‘Speed Metal Symphony’ (from 1987) and ‘Go Off!’ (from 1988). Also as a solo artist he has released a number of outstanding records, of which especially the in 1988 released ‘Perpetual Burn’ is worth mentioning. In 1989 however Jason was diagnosed with the disease Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and his further life expectancy was estimated at five years tops.
Almost thirty years later Jason Becker is still among us and despite of the fact that he isn’t capable anymore of playing guitar, walking, talking and even breathing on his own, he has never lost his passion for music. Composing new music is made possible by a special system that was developed by his father and which makes Jason capable of spelling out notes and chords by means of eye movements. In this way he has composed this album ‘Triumphant Hearts’, of which the material has been played by a large number of befriended musicians like Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Neal Schon, Paul Gilbert and Joe Bonamassa to name just a few.
The fourteen songs that are to be found on this ‘Triumphant Hearts’ will however not be suited for the average Lords Of Metal reader, probably with the exception of the quite heavy and very beautiful ‘Valley Of Fire’. The record namely consists for the majority of subdued compositions which contain quite a lot of pop and classical influences, but nowhere it gets real heavy. The more open-minded metal fans should give this a try however as everything is of course very well executed. As a traditional heavy metal fan you should therefore not purchase the album because of the music, but only to support Jason Becker. And for all those of you who aren’t familiar with the story behind this once so brilliant guitar player, I would advise you to watch the documentary ‘Not Dead Yet’, because this is and remains a piece of work that’s very worthwhile to check out.