Vanya Merc (2019)
In contradiction of the contents of this album, I will offer a review that is as pithy as possible: This album is fast. This album is electric. And this album is FUN!
In all seriousness, Vanya Merc‘s new album, “Traction Control” is an entertaining collection of virtuosic electric guitar tracks that are packed full of amazing technique, innovative writing, and good ol’ fashioned fun guitar playing.
When people talk about “blistering” electric guitar and “face-melting” riffs, THIS is the type of guitar playing they’re talking about.
In the official album description, Vanya writes:
Here’s Traction Control. An album virtually bursting at the seams with notes, bearing the hallmarks of my growth as a musician and guitarist over the last couple of years.
This is an album that’s all about throwing caution and moderation to the wind and skirting the limits of what is digestible in terms of compositional sensibility, with the tracks consistently teetering between irreverence and introspection; jocose and melancholy, lighthearted and sober. It marks my attempt to perform as close to the edge as possible, without veering catastrophically off course.
Light and catchy, eh?
On this album, Vanya draws inspirations from pop and rock, but specifically mentions Marty Friedman and Joe Satriani as formative influences.
Listening to the album, the Satriani influences are particularly apparent, both in guitar tone and in the melodic writing style.
I also suspect that Vanya has spent a fair amount of time listening to Eric Johnson (the solos on “Neon Flush” particularly calling that great player to mind) and even Kirk Hammett’s lead playing is evoked in a number of places.
If you have time for just one track, check out “Kiss”. This track captures the whole blend of great playing, great writing, and fresh vibes.
About Vanya Merc
Vanya Merc is a guitarist/musician/acoustician based in Stockholm, Sweden. In his own words,
He has one previously released album, titled “This Lousy T-Shirt” – released in 2013. You can listen on Spotify, or get links through his website.
Where To Listen to “Traction Control”
- Intro (01:03)
- Kiss (04:04)
- Echo (04:31)
- Magnolia (06:18)
- Mondays (05:35)
- Neon Flush (04:18)
- Now or Never (06:23)
- This Is Thirty (05:41)
- Falling Away (05:31)
- Aftermath (07:31)
- Sleeping in Light (05:09)
- Terminus (06:19)
Released August 2, 2019
Vanya Merc – Electric & Acoustic Guitars
Linus Abrahamson – Bass Guitars
Tomas Engberg – Drums & Percussion
Additional keys by Erik Wiss on Terminus and Joel Selsfors on Mondays.
Guest solo by Mattias ‘IA’ Eklundh on Magnolia.
All songs written by Vanya Merc.
Produced by Vanya Merc and Tomas Engberg.
Mixed by Erik Wiss
Mastered at The Panic Room