Instrumental fans who love the fusion of cinematic/atmospheric rock and progressive metal now have another offering in this bond of genres: “Journey to the Stars” by Polish one-man act Widek. The brainchild of Maciej Dawidek, “Journey to the Stars” also features solo contributions by some of the genre’s top guitarists, such as Chris Letchford (Scale the Summit), Per Nilsson (Scar Symmetry), Sithu Aye and Plini.
While “Journey to the Stars” is unquestionably a metal album, it’s definitely not an extreme metal record. Even without vocals (with the exception of the closing, bonus track “Ion”), it’s still entirely possible to create an extreme atmosphere through riffs and beats alone, but that’s not the direction Widek goes here for. Instead, this album is an extended experiment that blurs the lines of where metal begins and ends, taking the audience on a trip floating along through prog and atmospheric dreamscapes.
Widek works out his post-rock influences around the wall of melodiousness and prog metal riffwork. Perhaps the best possible description one can describe “Journey to the Stars“is that it sounds like a prog metal soundtrack. If Hans Zimmer was a metal fan, I guess that one of his scores could sound like this. The spacey atmosphere that adorns this release is often broken through guitar solos that are played by guest contributors. The instrumentation on the album is top notch as expected, but some listeners may object that much of the album sounds similar, although that “issue” definitely fades out after a few listens. As an advocate of instrumental guitar-driven music, I claim that there are plenty of distinguishing features to be found on “Journey to the Stars.”
With a devoted fanbase and two strong releases under his belt, Widek already leaves indelible mark on the international scene and hints that greater things are to come in the future. “Journey to the Stars” is a strong candidate for one of the best releases of 2015, and it will certainly find its place among many year-end top lists.
1. Mira (feat. Chris Letchford)
2. Earthshine (feat. Plini)
3. Chara (feat. Gru)
4. Orion II (feat. Sithu Aye)
6. Space Horizon
8. Parallax (feat. Owane)
10. Canis Majoris (feat. Per Nilsson)
11. Pillars of Creation
12. ION (feat. Ricky Davenport)