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Monday, December 11, 2017

Thomas Abban - A Sheik's Legacy (2017)

Written by Pamela Bellmore, posted by blog admin

This 15-cut, tour de force debut offering from Thomas Abban is the kind of musical juggernaut that baffles the mind.  It’s not even the age factor (though the fact that Abban is a mere 21 does blow the mind), no, what is really extraordinary on an album packed with various different instruments is the fact that Thomas play every single one of them.  Aside from the cello and flute, Abban handles the guitars (acoustic, electric), vocals, drums, bass, piano, keyboards, additional strings and auxiliary accoutrements (whistling, chants, claps, snaps) are all him.  Additionally, he wrote, produced, arranged, mixed and sequenced the tracks. 

Despite Abban’s subtle similarities to rock n’ roll visionaries like Jimi Hendrix, Pete Townshend and even Paul McCartney or John Lennon, his inspiration comes from elsewhere.  According to an interview it’s Mozart and Beethoven that this young virtuoso draws from the most, thus putting him into a similar ethic and mindset to Deep Purple’s Ritchie Blackmore who favored classical music more than anything else.  This influence clearly provides the backbone for the cinematic wallop of sense stirring barn-burners “Death Song,” “Symmetry & Black Tar,” “Time to think,” “Lord,” “Echo,” “Black Water” and “Born of Fire.”

Not only do these tracks bring in a myriad of different instruments, more than any type of list can muster, but just the way the vocals begin as breathy croons and rise to authoritative, falsetto crescendos highlight the epic swells of sound. The other instruments follow suit across the board; the guitars reflecting acoustic ripples to world ending waves of distortion, the drums ranging from righteous poly rhythms to pocket 4/4 time and the bass spiraling from root notes to free-form groove…  which thusly renders the majority of compositions on A Sheik’s Legacy as otherworldly thanks to some hearty manipulations in tone and playing style on Abban’s part as producer and band leader.  Even more traditional, home-wrecking guitar jams akin to the towering riffer-y of “Fear,” “Aladdin’s” smooth lava-like flow and the greasy metallic throw down of “Uh” offers sea changes in guitar/vocal volume; each of these three tracks getting seemingly louder and more powerful  with each passing minute.  And like any masterful singer/songwriter, Thomas displays that he can work in the all-acoustic format and still captivates the listener’s attention just as much as he does when he’s using progressive hard-rock advantages.  The tranquil manna of “Horizons” with its dazzling piano accompaniment, “Don’t You Stay the Same” and the pop-prog grandeur contained within “Irene’s” confines prove that Abban is a jack of many trades, master of all. 

A Sheik’s Legacy is one of the most well-written, sonically pleasing rock albums to come out in the last decade.  There are no dull tracks or wasted moments.  No matter what style he chooses to write in or how he decides to apply the dynamics from dashing to deranged, Abban is in complete control of his craft and the resulting collection of songs makes the most out of every aural opportunity. 

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