Nick Johnston – Child Of Bliss – Album Review

Nick Johnston – Child Of Bliss – Album Review

26th March 2024 0 By George Simpson

When I tell you that this is an instrumental album by a virtuoso guitarist, hands up all those expecting a relentless widdle fest. Thankfully you’d all be wrong, as Nick Johnston‘s new album Child Of Bliss sees him bypass the world of the endless guitar solo, instead delivering an emotive, deep collection of music, where nothing is overplayed for the sake of it.¬†

Being that this is my first encounter with his music, I did a quick bit of Wikipedia research whilst listening to it. Upon seeing the likes of Eddie Van Halen, Paul Gilbert, and Yngwie Malmsteen listed as influences, I was expecting something entirely different. Rather than being pummelled with notes, the music has room to breathe throughout. Whereas the guitar assumes almost lead vocal status on Paul Gilbert albums, here it happily blends in. The result is 40 minutes or so of instrumental prog-rock that is very happy in its own skin. It is what it is, and what it is needs no excuses!

The title track is a great example of what’s on offer here. Building from a quiet, acoustic first section, it develops and spreads its wings as he breaks out the electric guitar in the next. The recurring instrumental motif on the track displays feeling and a passion for his music, as he is clearly playing from the heart. Indeed, the same can be said for the equally memorable Moonflower later in the album. In this case, the guitar almost blends into the background and augments the track, rather than dominates it.¬†

In addition to those two tracks, Nick manages to combine keyboards, guitar, and melody in equal measure throughout. For example, the likes of Little Thorn and Through The Golden Forest don’t seem like the work of a guitarist. As a result of this, it allows the album to be the focal point here, not his undoubted talent. Furthermore having reviewed the most recent Paul Gilbert and Yngwie albums, I can safely say, in my humble opinion, that this album is the best out of them. The main reason is that the music is clearly more important than virtuosity here.

 

The laid-back approach to the music allows it to breathe and gives it all a lovely proggy feel. Whether that was what he was aiming for is something you’d have to ask him. Consequently, I found myself listening to most of the tracks like they were lengthy instrumental sections of a prog rock song. Something I’m quite partial to.

Also, with regards to length, it has to be said that the album being done and dusted in under forty minutes is no bad thing either. There is a tendency with this sort of album, for it easily outstays its welcome by hanging around too long. Indeed, just like the music itself, the album knows when enough is enough.¬† It leaves you wanting more, rather than you waiting for it to finally go. So, in keeping with that philosophy, I’ll wrap this review up and get out of here!¬†

 

Score: 8/10 

Tracklisting:

1 РBlack Widow 

2 – Child Of Bliss

3 РThrough The Golden Forest 

4 – Moonflower

5 – Himawari

6 РMemento Vivere 

7 РLittle Thorn 

8 РVoice Of The Wind 

Release Date: 8th March 2023

Label: Self Released 

For all things Nick Johnston, click HERE, and to purchase the album,  click HERE

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