Released by: Zetafactory
Release Date: Out Now!!!
Genre: Eclectic Rock/Metal
Ivan Mihaljevic – guitar, vocals
Marko Karacic – bass guitar, backing vocals
Alen Frljak – drums, backing vocals
1.Too Much Is Not Enough
2.Build Your Destiny
3.What Is Underneath
6.Gift Of Life
Croatian guitar virtuoso Ivan Mihaljevic returns with his new piece titled “Counterclockwise” and alongside him he brings 2/3 of what they are known as the “eclectic trio” called Side Effects. I remember Ivan as his pr folks doing a lot of press for years trying to get this solo project off the ground and they have established a great following through the social media. Ivan stays busy working on numerous side projects as well as opening for very known musicians in his home country. His early beginnings seemed to been based mostly on instrumental music, but with this album Ivan is moving away more and from that niche and bringing in more better constructed songs with vocals. The other two members come via bassist Marko Karacic and drummer Alen Frljak who between himself and Ivan wrote the bulk of the material on Counter. The record deals with the current state of consciousnesses of the mind in today’s society, huh? Seems complex yes but is not the lyrics are pretty straightforward and the music delivers simply because all three members are very well accomplished players, and it shows.
The style featured here brings in all elements of instrumental, little shred here and there, progressive rock and even a little post alternative metal thrown in for good measure. Ivan as usual does a formidable job on the axe but we all knew that, he takes a step back and doesn’t try to over do the songs relying simply on his guitar wizardry, his vocals on the hand are actually solid I mean he’s not elite or anything but I was actually surprise as they fit the mood of the record harmoniously. I dare to say in spots he brings little flashes of Zak Stevens from Circle II Circle and Savatage but less limited on range, not a bad thing to be honest with you.
Let’s talk about the songs yeah? “Build Your Destiny” is a nice slow cooker with a sense of musical keen ship from all three members, this one adheres to the sounds of “Driving Force” a much up tempo churner with a driving range and tight guitar riff. A stronger progressive animal shines through with “Guilded Heart” written by Ivan himself this tune turns in a more diverse position on the record and maintains it’s steady rhythm full of concoction and melody. One of the stronger cuts follows soon thereafter in “Gift of Life” as we taste once more all the ingredients in a finished polished act, some great guitar work from Ivan on this one.
Multi talented and faceted singer, songwriter, guitarist and producer; Ivan wears the jack of all trades hat on his guitar sleeve and does a strong job on the production edge as the record flows very well. I think eclectic is a good term for “Counterclockwise”, an all inclusive package that renders itself very well upon multiple listens because of the creativity of all three members. It won’t blow your mind so is okay to follow the concept as the music itself opens the virtuosity of all the members. I really enjoyed the slower parts combining to lift the momentum on some of the songs. Mihaljevic and his band is already a hot commodity in his own country as he has opened for big bands like Paul Gilbert (Mr. Big, Racer X) and Richie Kotzen (Poison, Mr. Big) and headlined the guitar festival Guitar Master in Zagreb. Perhaps only way you can go is up from here. Job well done!!!
Written by Denys