Monday, October 22, 2012

Uli Jon Roth's "Land of Dawn"

It seemed everything came together for Uli Roth on the Under a Dark Sky album, most particularly his post-Scorpions commitment toward fully integrating the electric guitar into the symphony orchestra. Roth spoke of this goal as early as his Electric Sun days, and it bears mention that he meant the incorporation differently from how other guitarists had done, the vast majority having used the instrument as a mere virtuoso's variation on the cello, with the rest of the orchestra typically acting as an overblown four piece. He more than reached his goal with this song and album,as the orchestra and guitar are co-equal parts throughout, with instruments finishing phrases started by others and taking cadenzas on their own, yet staying integral as a unit, like any authentic symphony. The songs themselves comprise what ultimately seems a sort of apocalyptic opera, with the lead guitar the prime protagonist, the lines emoting with unmatched range and depth...a fully developed voice to lead the generations of today's guitar enthusiasts.

"Land of Dawn" is the first song on the album that hit me hard, as Liz Vandall and Mark Boals seemed to me the 21st Century Coverdale/Hughes, and they have since become by far my favorite vocal duo in Rock since that coupling, influencing me to solicit their services in my own humble opera. Besides the Baroque, Romantic, and Opera influences on the track, note the groovy, almost Gates of Babylon-ish "Techno Man" movement, the dashes of classic Progressive Rock, the Hawaiianesque guitar bends leading into Boal's beseechment "please show us the way". The instrumentation reinforces the expansive nature of the lyrics, which themselves are composed of dire warnings alternating with utopian visions, all orchestrated precisely to accentuate the themes.