Guitarist Kevin Estrella is sharing his latest guitar playthrough video for the track 'The Ambassador' off the third full length "Edge of the Black" released this past December from his project Pyramids On Mars. The album offers up an aural palette of intense instrumental progressive shredding rock that's emotional, provocative and 4-dimensional.
"Edge of the Black" follows Pyramids On Mars' two previous albums and was written, composed and performed solely by Kevin Estrella who cites influences from musical greats including J.S Bach and Antonio Vivaldi along with today’s guitar virtuosos Yngwie Malmsteen and Joe Satriani. "Edge of the Black" pays homage to these artists while still maintaining Estrella’s own creative flair.
Estrella explains the track in further detail:
“The idea for The Ambassador was actually sparked from the guitar it was played on. It is played on a Signature ‘Aurora’ Guitar. Built by the Signature Guitar Company sometime around 1987. Alex Lifeson of Rush made the guitar famous playing it exclusively for the albums “Hold Your Fire” and “Show of Hands”. Alex designed the guitar, along with Russ Heinl. What makes it unique is the balance of Basswood (from a rare variety found only in Quebec) and has the three active single-coil pickups, giving the guitar a very unique: clear, bright yet warm distinctive sound. No guitar sounds like it. It was meant to be the ultimate Superstrat. It’s almost like an acoustic guitar on hyperdrive. Only 500 Signatures were ever made. My Signature Aurora is quite unique. The original owner purchased it from Steve’s Music Store in Toronto back in the late eighties. It was a floor model. It doesn’t even have a serial number. It is quite the collector’s item.
The Ambassador was written by-that-guitar. I didn’t write the song, the Signature guitar did. Speaking of Rush, the song is heavily influenced by Rush’s early works from the eighties. The concert video Show of Hands comes to mind was a huge influence on the Edge of the Black sound, particularly in the songs The Ambassador and Arcturian Rain.
The theme of the song is about an Ambassador who has been selected from Earth, chosen to be a spokesperson for the people of Earth. Scientists found a way to open a portal to another galaxy and he was chosen to go through it and hopefully meet some Extraterrestrial nation on the other side. Some other interesting things come to mind in the song. The guitar solo is doing some interesting combinations of two-note per string sweep picking, combined with string skipping arpeggios a-la Paul Gilbert style. The solo ends in a nice diatonic extension arpeggio legato phrasing. These and other techniques I teach on my online instructional guitar lessons https://pyramidsonmarsguitarlessons.pivotshare.com"
Track Listing: 1. Blood Moon 5:42 2. Nacht Waffen 6:56 3. Song of Light 5:44 4. F-22 Raptor 5:53 5. The Ambassador 4:57 6. Mercury Magnetar 4:58 7. Arcturian Rain 4:38 8. Time to Believe 4:40 9. Arioso Lullaby 4:39 10. Whale Song 4:28 Album Length: 52:40
Every once in a while there comes along a band that is so different or unique, you would think they were dropped on Earth from another planet. Pyramids On Mars is one of those bands. What first catches you, is that they are an instrumental band. A combination of elements such as hard rock, industrial, metal and psychedelic rock: and then the lead guitar comes soaring in. Well crafted, beautiful, melodic phrases so catchy and memorable they will be stuck in your head for the rest of the day.
Pyramids On Mars is the solo project of guitarist Kevin Estrella. He wanted to do something musically different that would stand out from the crowd. Estrella's musical style is very similar to world-renowned rock guitarist Joe Satriani, so much so that Estrella has nicknamed himself the "Satriani of the North."
"Of course Satriani has had a huge influence on me," he says "But he (Satriani) does more of a bluesy thing whereas I am more influenced by classical music. I absolutely love the Baroque classical composers J.S Bach and Antonio Vivaldi who are my biggest musical influences.
Estrella recorded, produced, engineered and mastered his debut album, self-titled "Pyramids On Mars" in 2013. Since then, he has been capturing music industry attention-getting international radio airplay in the U.S, Canada, South America, and Europe. He is a regular guest on Brian 'the hammer' Jackson radio (Los Angeles) to over 4 million listeners and a weekly speaker on Real Rock Radio (Chicago).
"Not only is Kevin Estrella a understated multi instrumentalist but he can write some amazing pieces of music that have influences of Bach and Vivaldi whilst marrying the best guitar virtuosos of today. This is the must have guitar instrumental album of 2019." - All About The Rock
"The whole album is persistently conceptualising the idea of a place beyond the black, leaving a lingering sense of both existentialism and awe at Kevin Estrella’s musical talent and ability. He fully allocates all the elements of the band equal respect to create a holistic and visceral thrill that emotionally charges the whole album whilst telling a story that has to be listened to." - Original Rock
"What we have here is over 50 minutes of intensive guitar playing that holds the attention by being layered with varied tempos, melodies and hooks." - Games, Brrraaains & A Head-Banging Life
"No lyrics are necessary for the dynamic Estrella, who delivers every shred of guitar you hear throughout the entirety of Edge of The Black’s ten tracks. The album is as daring and progressive as the classic Joe Satriani instrumental record Surfing With The Alien was upon its release in 1987. It drips with passion, energy, and melody, and pays homage to not only Satriani but also Estrella’s other important influences, such as Rush. Rush is ingrained in the circuitry of Estrella, a band that was very much “instrumental” in Estrella going the route he did with his musical career. " - PureGrainAudio
"This album was interesting. It does take the listener on a journey, and it cannot be denied that Estrella is unbelievably talented. The sci-fi, edge of the universe subject matter is very clear, and fans of this kind of thing will love this album." - Grater Mag --