So, Age of Heroes finally has a release date. In case you missed it, it’s February 3, 2017.
I thought I’d write a short piece on why this album is kind of exciting for me, and differs from my earlier ones. This won’t be the last post on the album. I’ll probably do a song-by-song run through with stories at some point. This, however, is the post about the people who feature on the album, and for me these people are a really big deal. If you don’t like reading, and just want to watch a video, there’s a song from the album at the bottom of this post.
This album saw me realize a dream. I have always wanted to have people I consider influences appear on an album of mine. I dreamt of playing with Steve Vai or Yngwie Malmsteen (the list goes on and on…), and on this album I saw that happen. I got Derek Sherinian (ex Dream Theater, Yngwie Malmsteen keyboard player who also toured with Billy Idol, Kiss and Alice Cooper) to play a killer solo on one of the tracks. One of the best feelings I’ve ever had was listening to his solos. It was like listening to a classic guitar versus keyboard solo battle a lá Yngwie Malmsteen, but with me taking the place of Yngwie. Here I was on the same track with a guy whose albums I have in my CD collection and who I’ve listened to for ages.
The second artist to feature was none other than Viking guitar maestro Mattias IA Eklundh of Freak Kitchen. He’s a guy who has truly influenced my playing. I did my solos after he sent me what he’d done, and that was downright terrifying. His technique is so clean and he’s so creative that I sat there thinkin: “Damn! He’s from another planet. What do I do now?”. The end result was great. Absolutely smashing stuff.
In addition to those two I got the extremely talented Janne and Emil to feature on one song, where we did a three guitar battle. That was really fun. They pulled out all the stops and so did I. Sasa Opacic, who mastered the record, and who is also my old guitar teacher, sat there listening to it shaking his head, going: “You guys are nuts!”
Those are some of my proudest moments as a musician, but this album also features other things I consider better than anything I’ve done before. Just one example is the song “Three Days of Peace”. I don’t know what happened there, but it came out all magical (at least for me). I didn’t even have a melody for the B part when I was supposed to record it, but the whole thing just came together into something that’s absolutely beautiful. It’s the kind of thing that I can’t even take credit for, because I don’t know what I did. The song and the performance kind of just happened with me as almost a spectator.
So this is definitely the best album I’ve made to date (OK, one can’t compare it to the acoustic album, as it’s so totally different). I’m really proud of it, and excited, and I hope you enjoy it. I think you just might…
And here is the video. It’s me playing the song “The Grassy Gnoll” (this is the version I didn’t enter Guitar Idol with, the competition which I didn’t win). Many people think it sounds a lot like Joe Satriani, which is really odd to me. I don’t think it does too much. Most often I agree with people’s assesments of what I sound like, and most times it’s quite out in the open. But this one baffled me. Well, you be the judge…
Pre order the album at https://elmojk.bandcamp.com/album/age-of-heroes
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