Ed Melendez – Counter Clockwise
On Counter Clockwise, we’re treated to the sound of Dream Theatre and Marillion staying up for an eighties brat pack movie marathon.
Proggy and symphonic, Ed Melendez’s Counter Clockwise is packed full of tunes and rhythms to really get you fired up. Regularly the album touches on quite cheesy prog rock tropes, but it all comes off as thoroughly fun.
Opening with the counter-intuitively titled ‘Exit’, the guitar work is immediately bright and glacial, with harmonics working well alongside the synthy tones. Eventually as the guitars build, there is a euphoric moment as everything pulls back to allow the thuds of the drums to pave the way for the track to tumble towards its epic conclusion. But it’s clear from the album’s start that there’s no time to stop to take a breath – launching straight into ‘Surface’ maintains a sense of momentum, with Melendez’s guitar work squealing its notes with real expression. The melody shifts between super fast eighth notes and long, drawn out wails that create a dynamic contrast, while the rhodes that filters in and out of the track adds a chilled out sense of calm.
Despite the somewhat frenetic nature of Ed Melendez’s record, there are moments of peace and tranquility to be found as well, most notably on ‘Horizon’, a wide landscape of space and time. The track’s melody is deeply investigative, allowing the mind to wander as it listens, inviting you to join in and engage your own imagination while the tune plays out.
‘Clock’ manages to sound like the kind of thing to be played over the end credits of an eighties teen slacker movie, with its relaxed guitar shredding, while ‘Broken Window’ tightens it up a little with a wailing performance that will leave any fan of prog rock begging for more.
Ed Melendez’s influences are clear and he makes no attempt to hide them – there are traces of Marillion and Dream Theater running throughout the entire album. The story behind the album’s creation is particularly intriguing – Melendez began by creating 10 riffs that he then developed into full songs. In his own words,
“Ten tracks, each song a story, beginning in one place and taking the listener to a very different place when they’re done. A sort of instrumental journey.”
On ‘Going To Jupiter’, there is a truly cosmic vibe to be found. The track soars, making the perfect soundtrack for anyone choosing interstellar travel, while ‘Labyrinth’ lays down a foundation of chorus laden effects for its expressive guitar work to stand out and have its story heard.
‘Atmospheric Pressure’ adds some grit into the mix, creating an energetic and driven track that builds and builds as it progresses, while ‘Cloud Parade’ is suitable airy and light, awash with delays and a riff that creates a wide horizon. Closing with ‘Metal Circus’, Counter Clockwise reaches its inevitable conclusion with a powerful and strong track that shreds impressively, and reaches a cinematic climax before it finally draws the album to a close.