Style: Progressive Metal
Label: Lion Music
George Bellas - guitars, bass, keyboards
Marco Minnemann - drums
George Bellas is another guitar virtuoso stepping out and making albums under his own name. Unlike some of the solo guitarist instrumental albums I've heard, George Bellas plays more Progressive Metal than Heavy Metal shredding. "Step Into The Future" is as much of a fusion of...just about everything as it is epic. And it's pretty damn epic with just the one song going for over 75 minutes. With something so large and variable you couldn't blame anyone for being a sceptic. Let's see though if those kinds of thoughts are just unfounded.
So you're probably wondering what Step Into The Future sounds like. Well it's not Industrial influenced Progressive Metal as the cover and title lead me to believe; it's in fact a kind of Neo-classical/Progressive/pianistic/Symphonic breed of metal/rock. It's probably more metal than rock I guess; it's just that it's pretty soft music. George Bellas is the bassist and keyboardist as well as the guitarist on the album so sometimes the guitar will step out for a smoko while the bass and other instruments continue and that contributes too to the softer feeling. The problem with writing such a long/epic album is that it has to be written in a way that it keeps the listener's attention. That's probably a difficult task at the best of times, but without vocals and no breaks throughout it would be even trickier. If you think of the common album, each song is distinct from one another in that they have the general structure of a song within themselves. The thing about Step Into The Future is that you aren't sure which bits you like best when exactly you'll hear them again and there isn't even and kind of sub-song arrangement going on. So the whole album seems to meander along with perhaps less purpose than it otherwise could.
Musically Step Into The Future isn't too bad. George Bellas is pretty handy on the guitar it seems! It's mostly solo work and other technical arrangements but you can mostly appreciate the music because of his proficiency (especially if you're a Progressive Metal fan). Other than that, his bass work is nice and prominent (which it really needs to be on a softer album like this) and the symphonies, brass instruments and choirs seem fitting when used. The keyboards play a pretty large part in Step Into The Future too as you'd imagine. It's mostly organ sounds and piano which mostly sound nice but with such a long composition you could pick up lots more.
So I think Step Into The Future could be an alright album for those with a lot of patience and an open mind. You could study Step Into The Future like a painting if you had the time. A Progressive Metal fan especially could spend an afternoon immersed in this album. For the rest of us though it's a bit overwhelming, specialist and not attention-catching enough other than a kind of background music. Plus most would only want it in smaller, easier to digest pieces.