Michael Lee Hill

Frozen Thought

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    5
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The second album from guitarist and composer Michael Lee Hill is an almost entirely self-produced affair, recorded in his home studio and engineered and mastered by Hill himself. The only exception is his impressive cover version of Steve Vai's "Jibboom", on which he is accompanied by studio wizards Mike Mangini on drums and Philip Bynoe on bass (and which was coproduced by Vai). Hill has impressive chops, and his tone is rich and crunchy. He also writes well enough, though none of the tunes on this album really stands up and fights for your attention. His Jimi Hendrix tribute ("Jimi's Communication") is one of the more melodically interesting numbers here, and "Dorothy's Sons", a dedication to his mother, is a very pretty and somewhat meditative piece that features a particularly nice solo. Most of the other tracks tend to be sonically cluttered, and when the guitar emerges from the clutter Hill is too often indulging in predictable, Pavlovian riffage that substitutes notes for music. It's worth hearing, but Frozen Thought will ultimately be of interest primarily to other guitarists.

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