of Queensryche will recognize the Rockenfield name. This is their
drummer, Scott Rockenfield, beating the skins with a talented guitar
player by the name of Paul Speer. Now, it will come as no surprise
to hear that this disc is filled with Rockenfield's patent drum
technique. The brilliant rhythm patterns, the intricate percussion
details, and all of the other great values that the Queensryche
drummer brings to the table are in abundance here; that is not a
surprise. What really makes this disc so divine is the fact that
Rockenfield has found a perfect match with Speer. Speer is a guitar
player that has pinpoint intuition and touch. He sets the mood,
he explodes, he lies low he does whatever the music asks
him to do, and he does it with great flair and passion.
song "Red Torrent" immediately comes to mind when I try
to come up with a track that best represents this disc. It has a
drum pattern that is obscene, and a guitar part that's practically
lyrical when it swoons. Speer plays the perfect piece of music for
the concrete rhythm that's been laid by Rockenfield. Speer also
acts as the other half of the rhythm section here, playing bass
on all of the tracks. "River Of No Return" and "Seven
Devils" find Speer exhibiting his bass chops as well as his
guitar prowess. Rockenfield's work on "Seven Devils" and
"Red Torrent" might be some of the best he's ever done,
while Speer shines brightly throughout the effort.
top notch production, the haunting Queensryche-inspired background
choir sound, and two immeasurable talents make this a disc that's
sure to please any fan of great music.
that I've told you about Paul Speer's work with a venerable hard rock
drummer, I'd like to introduce you to another side of Paul Speer.
Speer's solo discs are filled with atmospheric guitar tone and an
overdose of feel. Oculus, the CD before his most recent solo release,
Wonders, has an accompanying DVD that takes you on a visual journey
through that record. Filmed in visually enchanting spots around the
world, the music from the Oculus CD becomes your legs as you walk,
run, and crawl about in a musical menagerie of guitar pleasure. It
really is a unique concept that is very entertaining.
This Wonders CD is very much like the Oculus release in that it carries
you away on an exciting aural journey. This one is not a journey of
sight and sound like Oculus was (not yet anyway), but as you will
find out, sound turns out to be quite enough on this trip.
Lawler and Paul Speer
(featuring Satine Orient) Wonders
always thought music was made as food for the soul. The thick, rich
melodies and the fervent waves of sound prepare a meal for your mind.
There are a few artists that really tap into this thought process
and deliver in robust fashion. Pink Floyd is probably the most popular
of these cerebral types. I'm talking about music that feeds that one
spot in your mind; the spot that nobody else seems to reach. Keyboardist/percussionist/flutist
Paul Lawler and guitarist / bassist / keyboardist Paul Speer deliver
massive quantities of that kind of sensation throughout this record.
You'll close your eyes and drift out to seas, where the waters are
sometimes calm and other times more rousing and demonstrative. You'll
visit worlds inside your mind that you've never ventured to before.
is a wondrous power exuding from this record. With the help of French
vocalist Satine Orient, Lawler and Speer create landscapes that
have peaks and valleys. The track that immediately comes to mind
for me is "Petra," which finds Speer jamming over a canvas
of various sounds. There is a low hum in parts of this song that
almost sound like a pan flute, but upon closer more intensive listening
you can hear breaths. Is this a vocal, perhaps?! Shhh
tell me, I don't wanna know. I love the mystery here. The track
also finds Lawler delivering a tin whistle-type sound reminiscent
of that from the Titanic hit, "My Heart Will Go On." All
of this blends beautifully to create an astonishing body of music.
Wat" is another track that immediately comes to mind when I
think of this disc. Speer and his guitar are the main focus on this
one, and he delivers a passionate, David Gilmour-like performance
that literally bends and shapes itself into something musically
penetrating. And speaking of "musically penetrating,"
the most diverse track on the disc has got to be "Tahoma."
This song layers an acoustic guitar and an ultra-melodic electric.
It has a slight classic 60's kind of keyboard sound buried deep
underneath everything. It has an enchanting breathy flute. And to
highlight the track, we get an emotional burst of vocals from Orient
that serves as a centerpiece to all the action.
CD is one of the most unique in my collection. Is it unique because
of the way it sounds? Not really. Is it unique because of the selection
of instruments that are involved? No, not really. Then you ask,
"Why is this so unique?" This disc is unique because it's
one of the only of its kind that kept my interest all the way through.
It's unique because of its perfection. There's not a note out of
place here. That's rare, even for records by the best artists in
the world. Do I consider Lawler and Speer to be two of the best
musicians in the world? Well, I haven't heard enough from either
of them to make that distinction, but this Wonders disc is one hell
of a mouthpiece to state their case.