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Rest In Keys

Self-released (2012)
Rating: 8/10

It’s an unfortunate truth in heavy music that a band’s keyboardist traditionally garners little recognition relative to the rest of the band. Vocalists and guitarists seem to bask in the majority of the limelight while drummers and keyboardists languish in thankless anonymity. There is one name, however, which is becoming synonymous with keyboards these days… Bob Katsionis. His is a name you would do well to remember. He is the keyboardist for Greek power metal act Firewind as well as Outloud, where he also plies his talents as a rather accomplished guitarist.

In addition to performing in two bands, operating his own video production company as well as his own studio, the workaholic virtuoso also manages to periodically crank out the occasional solo album. That brings us to Rest In Keys, his fourth solo album to date. Katsionis’ keyboard work is an integral part of Firewind’s sound, but with a solo project like Rest In Keys his skills with the keys as well as his songwriting and composition take centre stage.

Featuring a varied list of guest vocalists / musicians, including Liv Kristine (Leaves’ Eyes), Gus G (Firewind / Ozzy Osbourne), Christopher Amott (Arch Enemy), Gary Wehrkamp (Shadow Gallery) and Maxi Nil (Visions Of Atlantis), Rest In Keys is a solid bridge between power metal (‘On My Own’), progressive metal (‘Poseidon’s Rage’) and more traditional keyboard music (‘The Four Seasons Of Love’).

With all these varied elements, the one constant is Katsionis’ phenomenal keyboard work, which is the cornerstone of the album. The album incorporates some excellent guitar work as well, and the interplay between the guitar and keys is what really makes this album shine. Tracks like ‘Poseidon’s Rage’, ‘Epirus Rising’ and ‘Game Of Drones’ bring to mind an almost “dueling banjos” sort of playful interaction between the two instruments. At times it is difficult to determine where the keyboard ends and the lead guitar begins.

Bob Katsionis is not only an exceptional musician but he’s also a gifted and astute composer. With the majority of the tracks present on Rest In Keys being instrumentals, his songwriting and composition abilities are aptly demonstrated to be capable of hooking the listener and keeping them engaged throughout the experience. Not only can the man write complex and intricate arrangements, he also manages to write immediately recognisable hooks and melodies.

Do you like power metal? Do you like prog? Do you like neoclassical keyboard music? If you appreciate any of these, you will find something to enjoy in Bob Katsionis’ latest solo effort, Rest In Keys.

Farron Watson

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