Emir Hot – Sevdah Metal

Emir Hot – Sevdah Metal – 4/5

I should really stop making such judgements about genres because it seems as soon as I point something out I discover a flurry of bands proving me wrong (see "Vanishing Point" review). In this case by dislike for Prog/Power has given me yet another reason in the form of a Bosnian (though he now resides in the UK) guitar virtuoso by the name ‘Emir Hot.’ Joined by vocal powerhouse John Hunt (Artension/Royal Hunt) and drummer virtuoso Mike Terrana (Masterplan/Artension/Rage/Gamma Ray), this is neo-classsical without the wankery, with strong influences from the traditional Bosnian music called ‘Sevdah,’ integrated in such a way to lend a distinctly unique result.

The drumming more than competent, he presents no issues providing a solo (and indeed does in ‘Sevdah Metal Rhapsody’), whilst often finding himself relegated to the back he does so with ease, creating a number of perfectly fitting beats and fills, he works to seamlessly integrate the variety of tempo’s and emotional tones presented by the vocalist – and that’s no small range. With a variety of aggression behind his voice, the vocals can often be slow and gentle, yet still capable of performing with ease where the music requires him to go into overdrive. With a clarity that allows each word to be heard with ease, he provides the ‘yin’ to the guitarists ‘yang,’ providing an addictive melody and thoughtful lyrics, written by Emir Hot himself with influences taken from his life in Bosnia.

Despite this, the focus frequently finds its way to the guitars, and their unique blend of neo-classical shredding and ‘Sevdah.’ Sevdah can be described as an unusual blues-toned boisterous folk-like music, which as you might expect feels like something of a juxtaposition of the lightning quick neo-classical aggression, but these aren’t the only sounds he creates. From soft acoustic ballads to more conventional sounding tracks, he bounces off of guest work from accordians, xylophones and keyboards during his solo pieces which are in no short supply.

This is an album built around the epic “Sevdah Metal Rhapsody” – a medley of covers from traditional Sevdah tracks, which can be seen throughout the tracks. Everything feels carefully planned, from the well written lyrics to the unique solo’s, the way everything is worked so as to not give too much attention to any one source – this feels less like a solo album and more of a group effort with, many individual contributions despite the presence of a leader. This may still be his debut album, but already he’s made something of an impression; one which I only hope he can build on in the near future.

Highlights: Devils in Disguise, Sevdah Metal Rhapsody, Stand and Fight