Are you the kind of person who plays action video games and wonders why they don’t release the brilliant soundtracks on record? If so, then you’ll undoubtedly enjoy Gustavo de Beauville’s new album, Volume 1. In this, his first solo release, the talented multi-instrumentalist shows off his diverse skills in all their glory.
First and foremost, the album is very distinctive because it is solely instrumental, and from the offset it is obvious that De Beauville has really mastered this difficult art. We begin with Release the Kraken, an interesting guitar-led track that is frequently reminiscent of prog-rock legends Coheed and Cambria. There is a sense of action and intent, which not only lifts the pace, but also offers meaning and motive to the music. A rather dark piece, it floats seamlessly and effortlessly towards a more Industrial finish. This is definitely a highlight of the album, and is an interesting introduction to a diverse collection of work.
Continuing on, there are an array of different styles on offer, from the electronic-infused Seeking Solace to the lively rhythms of Oh Divine Raven, whilst From the Light offers an intriguing, epic soundscape. Another highlight of the album can be found in closing track In Defiance, which completes the record with an ‘amalgamation’ of everything we have just heard. Beginning softly, it quickly gains momentum before throwing you straight into a soaring guitar melody. This is the most musically diverse track on the album, and this diversity is what makes it exciting and enjoyable to listen to.
However, despite the faultless musical technicality, the record does occasionally become repetitive and self-indulgent; Sands of Allure and Red Giants are unnecessary in terms of the progression of the album and don’t offer anything that we haven’t heard before. But De Beauville clearly enjoys working in different styles and is incredibly talented, not only in composition but also in the production elements (having recorded and mixed the album himself). He pushes himself to the limits of his musical talent whilst also allowing himself to experiment.
Overall, Volume 1 is interesting, but is not as fulfilling as it perhaps could be. The addition of more gripping drum tracks or experimental use of synths may serve the less vibrant songs well, giving them a well-needed boost of life and an added dimension. A good effort.