Scott Waters Review of Angelica Without Words

Angelica - Without Words (Girder) 2019
It's been decades since Canada's Angelica has released a new album. Angelica was always the brain-child of guitar-shredder Dennis Cameron. After dismantling Angelica during the grunge age, and trying his hand at some more modern styles in the 1990's, Dennis has resurrected the Angelica name to bring about a new guitar instrumental album. While we have never seen an all-instrumental Angelica album before, there were many fantastic instrumentals on the classic Angelica albums. ("Harvest" and the instrumental version of "Oh Canada" come immediately to mind.)
Sadly this form of music also went out of vogue during the musically depressed mid-1990's and early 2000's when it suddenly became "cool" to not know how to play your instrument. Guitar solos became "uncool" and those who spend years and decades honing their craft were mocked and shrugged-off as irrelevant or mere show-offs. Thankfully Dennis seems as if he could care-less about what the "in-crowd" has to say about it. "Without Words" is a brilliant slab of genuine guitar SHRED! That's right, SHRED! This album fits nicely in with classic albums from guys like Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Marty Friedman, Tony MacAlpine, David T. Chastain, Lanny Cordola and the like. Some might think that an electric guitar-based instrumental album would be boring. "Without Words" is anything but boring. Dennis makes sure to let his guitar tell a story, as if the guitar was the vocalist in each and ever song. The albums ebbs and flows with heavy tracks, somber more-mellow moments and plenty of fiery fretwork. While Dennis is one who can tear up a fret-board it must also be noted that he plays with feeling, emotion and a sense of timing that transcends mere shred. This is an album of songs! This is an album that will not quickly become background music but will capture and hold your attention from the opening lick to the closing note. Welcome back Dennis Cameron and Angelica, we missed you. Nice to have you back.
Scott Waters