There is one man at the forefront of Canadian progressive metal, and his name is Matt Chanway. Hailing from the West coast city of Vancouver, Chanway has married thrash, and instrumental prog metal to create something that truly rivals the guitar greats of old. When first I happened to glance at the list musicians that this relatively unknown guitarist was to be likened to, I saw John Petrucci’s name, and immediately became skeptical. Hearing the opening hardcore riff of ‘The Receiver Of Wisdom‘ did nothing to change my mind…but when the lead kicked in…while the tonality and technicality of Petrucci may not be matched, it is entirely understandable why Chanway would be compared to such a guitar god.
Ferocious, fast, and fucking awesome, Matt Chanway indeed has a scintillating skill that surely many would aspire to. His compositions are interesting, invigorating, intense, and inspiring: everything instrumental prog metal should be. Chanway’s business of guitar instruction in Vancouver, could and should skyrocket after the great Christmas gift that was this eponymous EP…well one would be inclined to call it an EP, given its six track length, but it’s total run time of nearly an hour may as well simply render it a full album.
Either way, as is requisite, there are some gripes with the album. The guitar playing is absolutely wonderful, there is no doubt about that, and Chanway has an incredible future ahead of him in the music industry (should he decide to push it to the big time), but nevertheless there is still an issue with the guitar, in some tracks at least. The heavy riffs, especially noticeable in ‘Harbinger 2.1‘, and ‘Eyes In The Sky‘ does at times overpower the lead, leaving one wishing that the lead track was bumped up just that little bit more to really make it pop in the mix: a significant guitar gripe when one simply wants to appreciate what is presumably the main focus of the album.
One likely wants to compliment all who worked on the album for their sweet speed, and kudos to Chanway, and his bass player Stewart Hidalgo (also producer of the album). And while one may be inclined to praise Jacob Craner for his stamina, and his Portnoy speed, one has to cheapen to compliment due to the drums being sequenced. A great job on the programming to be sure, but arguably a live drummer in place of the digital beats would have truly made this album.
All in all, Matt Chanway has a hit in hand here with his eponymous album. A hit that keeps pounding away, letting up only to prep for harder hits (though one might wish there to be some heart wrenching breaks amid the gut wrenching chugs. If those two elements could be married together, then indeed the comparison to Petrucci could be warranted. Taking a hint from my favourite song on this album, Chanway could make use of a bit more ‘Lucidity‘…in more ways than one.
If prog metal is your thing, then keep up to date with Chanway HERE, and do check out his album right over HERE. It is worth it, and would pair nicely with working out, gaming, and sports…but maybe not with a quite dinner in.