Reviewed by MJBrady on 28 Jul 2007
Apparently Ioannis Anastassakis is a top guitar instructor in Greece, as evidenced by his Myspace site, where he features some of his top students on video, some of which are make guest appearances on this cd Suspension of Disbelief. And in hearing this cd, and visiting his myspace pages, one has to wonder, is shred guitar still a big thing over in Greece? It would appear so, joining Ioannis on this cd is none other than Bob Katsionis, who has a few things reviewed here at Proggnosis, Bob does most of the keyboards and programming on this cd, and is not too shabby a guitarist himself. I guess having heard so many virtuoso guitarists to date, I always look for something different that each of these artists are capable of doing that sets them apart from what seems to be an ocean of talent. Ioannis has all the expected things like sweeps, tapping and scale speed going on, and he is very good at it, but the one thing that stands out to me, and I wish there were more of it, is his penchant for Flamenco playing, acoustical fingerstyle playing that is very tasteful and emotional.
It was in hearing these few moments on the cd, that I felt Ioannis was doing something that wasn't too derivative, as the rest of the disc could easily be compared to the Joe Satriani, Vinnie Moore school of melodic, shred guitar music, and one no no, using a drum programming for the rhythm backing, makes things a little to impersonal. Ioannis is a very skilled guitarist, more a soloist than a songwriter it would appear, as each electric song seems to be simply structured for the benefit of his displaying soloing, I do enjoy the way that Bob Katsionis compliments many of the songs with his keyboard playing, which offers a diverse sound apart from the guitar heavy song structures.
Here in the modern era, we really have literally thousands of great guitarists to chose from, in every conceivable genre, yet very few are setting themselves apart from the crowd, depending on what you are listening for, most of these musicians seem to want merely to have a recording of what they spend most of their time doing with their instrument, practicing solos, scales, tricks and techniques, at some point it loses it's impact as entertainment, even at Ioannis site he refers to himself as the "The Coach of the Greek Guitar Champions!", which in itself makes guitar playing seem more an athletic event based on measured skills, rather than an artistic creation. That moniker pretty much sums up the substance of what one can expect on this cd, a lot of displays of the sport of guitar, with perhaps a need for some artistic substance.
I do enjoy some of this cd, and I respect Ioannis' pursuit of guitar excellence, he has made himself into a very skilled player, and I expect he can and will find new ways to convey his talents, hopefully in a more personal and artistic way, setting him apart from the masses.
Reviewed by MichelF on 13 Mar 2008
The master word here is performance. Loannis Anastassakis is a guitar virtuoso, no doubt about it. In Suspension of Disbelief he let the world know that he is a grand master technician and an impressive performer. Musically, this production is quite good; for a guitar lover it is an easy listen. However, even if it is flawless technically, it is not groundbreaking. Satriani and consort had defined the genre a long time ago. All in all, the production and recording are first class. Nevertheless, I am in accord with my colleague, MJBrady, the brilliance of the performance does not compensate for the lack of creativity in the music. I imagine what he could do with musicians of his technical stature, and more importantly, with a brilliant and original composer. Still, I recommend this CD for all lovers of guitar performance album.