Borislav Mitic

Borislav Mitic

Shrapnel Records, 1999

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Borislav Mitic has got to be one of the luckiest people around today. He got out of his native Yugoslavia last year, missing out on the little presents that are raining down on his birthplace of Belgrade every night. He has escaped the outrageous artistic license that the Yugoslavian government had - which practically gave them the right to use any music they wanted without paying the artist.

Now, he's put out this self-titled release - his debut in America - and adds himself to the list of those who would take the throne of guitar king away from Yngwie Malmsteen, one of Mitic's idols. If Mitic isn't at the top of that list, he's real close, 'cause this is a solid album through and through.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Mitic's playing style, like Malmsteen's, is a mixture of classical structire with modern day flash - though, to Mitic's credit, he doesn't allow the flashier side of his playing to take over. With the help of his bandmates - bassist Jacques Roy and drummer Marc Monneau - Mitic comes close to creating a new style of classical music while making sure things stay exciting for the listener of today.

The classical influences are clearly heard on such pieces as "Sky Rider" and "Mystic", the latter divided into two movements. Mitic's playing is clean throughout, though there are times I wished there had been a little more raw emotion put into the playing. It's a hard thing to explain, but in some cases, it seems like even the complicated riffs that Mitic is playing are like second nature to him. I would have liked to have heard a little more playing from the gut, almost like he was walking a tightrope without a safety net.

The only other complaint I have with Borislav Mitic is on the track "Southern Wind"; while the gypsy-like movement of the song is decent enough, it is a track I thought could have been a bit shorter - or at least injected with a little more variety in the mix.

The remainder of this album, in a nutshell, contains some of the most exciting guitar-driven instrumentals I've heard in some time. Mitic is a master of his six-string, and on tracks like "Celtic Legends" (another track in two movements), "Bird Dance" and "Ballade Pour Elle" are prime examples.

With the popularity of heavy metal on the rise, it is time for another guitar virtuoso to step up to the plate and raise the bar for guitar playing. Malmsteen did that in the '80s; now, it's Mitic's turn. Borislav Mitic is an album that needs just a touch of humanity, but shows this young man is on the verge of greatness.

Rating: A-

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© 1999 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Shrapnel Records, and is used for informational purposes only.