Shred Academy reviews Zack Uidl: Insomnia

Zack Uidl's solo album, Insomnia, is a show stopper for anyone into progressive music and a high level of musicianship. Oh yes, there is also a truck load of shredding. The record is a mind bending aural assault that is simultaneously pleasing and terrifying.

The entire album is essentially one song, broken into 8 tracks, perhaps for easier navigation to the listener's favourite part, or maybe it's a map of Zack's own experience suffering from insomnia. My favourite track is the near-on 15 minute epic The Crossing. Crazy time signatures, brutal rhythm guitar, razor sharp leads, chilling melodic break-downs and insane harmony sections, it's all there, and it's all great.

Zack is well known as an instructor and for his instructional material, however, he is fast becoming just as well known for his astonishing technical prowess as well and Insomnia is a great show case of his playing skills and melodic ideas.

I hear a strong Dream Theater influence in the heavier songs, though not so much the Petrucci style solos, but rather the rhythmic stabs, climaxes and crescendos.

I'm not going to break the album down track by track, because it's meant to be listened to as a whole.

The track listing is as follows:

  1. Insomnia
  2. The Crossing
  3. Reverie—The Aspiration
  4. Disillusion Theory
  5. Reverie—Seize The Accolade
  6. Turmoil
  7. Reverie—Reminiscence
  8. Collapse Of The Depraved

The 3 tracks called Reverie serve as mellow and contemplative transitions between the heavier feel of The Crossing, Disillusion Theory and Turmoil; (where Zack's playing really comes alive) while the last track Collapse Of The Depraved revisits and completes the musical themes introduced in the opening track Insomnia.

This is an excellent one-man album, and a fantasic debut for Zack as a solo artist. I have listened to the album a lot and I'm sure I will continue to do so.

Zack has also recently received his new 8 string guitar through his Conklin guitar endorsement, which should yield some interesting results, so watch this space.