Darren Housholder

Symphonic Aggression

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The last of three recordings guitar-instrumentalist Darren Housholder released on Shrapnel Records, Symphonic Aggression is the musician's most accomplished record. Improved production and a more developed rhythmic concept elevate this 1995 release above Housholder's earlier efforts. The clean guitar funk and jazz explorations falter, but the Berklee Music graduate's fluid rock soloing -- the heart of all three Housholder releases -- are his best ever. Guitar enthusiasts will enjoy the much improved Strat guitar tones and bassist Ricky Wolking's killer performances. As the title suggests, Symphonic Aggression is Housholder and his band's (Wolking and drummer Ray Lozier) most classically influenced disc. Sounding occasionally like classical metal's most heroic guitarist, Yngwie Malmsteen, Housholder performs blistering solos over Bach- and Chopin-inspired key modulations. The classical dramatics hold up through the first half of the record before the disc shifts into the more conventional rock feel used in Housholder's first two releases. Even when Symphonic Aggression loses its neo-classical momentum, Lozier and Wolking give the arrangements energy and depth. The rhythm section's full tones and interesting polyrhythms provide a welcome dynamic to the standard shredder material. Housholder's solo work typifies a genre of music made by (and for) the most technically inclined rock musicians. Fans of this complicated, sometimes difficult music will enjoy Symphonic Aggression; clearly the guitarist's most impressive record to date.

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