June 7, 2021

Pat Reilly is a virtuoso electric guitar player from the United States with Path To Transcendence being his debut solo album. For the main part, it is an instrumental progressive metal album with Reilly very much following the path of the usual shredders in Joe Satriani, Steve Vai and Jason Becker and shows that he has a true mastery of the 6-string and plays with speed when needed but also with soul, passion and grace. It is one of those albums that you can have on the background and are aware of his amazing chops but really comes alive when cranked up to maximum or under headphones when you can pick up every subtle nuance. Watch out for the delightful moment when Dracarys turns into the theme from Game Of Thrones and it works really well.

Strangely though, it is an album with two distinct stories to tell as there are six sublime and gorgeously beautiful prog metal soundscapes with Reilly truly on fire as a guitarist and a composer. Then there are three tracks with guest vocalists and, to me, these actually detract from the work. Reilly plays guitar and bass as when as mixing, mastering and producing the work with Tadpole Jones on drums and Michael Marrone playing drums for the track Emergence Only. We then have Anthony Quiles supplying vocals for Winter Sunrise which are clean and truly enhance the progressive metal experience and if he would have supplied all vocals then I would have been delighted. However, I feel that the darker and more guttural vocal approach of Michael Centrone on Birth Of Freedom and Vitality actual detracts from the quality of the album. Now this is purely a personal view as I much prefer clean vocals to the darker and deeper ones but I know that there are many out there who feel exactly the opposite. It is just that the music is sublime, soaring and lifting and needs clean, clear and beautiful singing as the contrast with the darker tones is just too much.

That said, this is still a great album and Pat Reilly a major talent on the guitar and I look forward to hearing more form him.

Path To Transcendence track list

  1. Between Two Worlds (3:43)
  2. Emergence (6:55)
  3. Bleeding Life (3:37)
  4. The Sleepless (1:34)
  5. Dracarys (5:47)
  6. Winter Sunrise (5:20)
  7. Birth of Freedom (2:58)
  8. Vitality (4:53)
  9. The Farewell Illusion (4:57)