In recent years there have been a number of very talented female guitarists who have at least shown they deserve to be amongst their male counterparts. One such artist is Orianthi Panagaris, known simply as Orianthi. You may know her from her time as Michael Jackson's guitarist in the ill fated "This Is It" Tour which he was of course never able to do. Orianthi has released three well received solo albums and has gained respect from some of the biggest Guitarists in the game. Carlos Santana notably giving her high praise. She has recently released her third album.
**Heaven In This Hell**
This is the third album from Orianthi. It was released on 12th March 2013. The album was produced by Dave Stewart and is a mix of Blues & Heavy Rock. Five of the songs of the album were already previously released in Orianthi's first EP Fire, released in 2011 but there are seven new songs featured on the album. Orianthi has writing credits on all twelve songs and collaborated with Dave Stewart and a couple of others.
1.) Heaven In This Hell
This is the Title track from the album and is one of the best tracks on the album. It opens with a dark horror film like spoken intro and then has a Bluesy feel which soon develops into a full on Rock track with soaring vocals and catchy guitar riffs. There's some excellent guitar work from Orianthi here and her vocals are well performed too. I really like the way it leads up to a fine guitar solo which Orianthi lets loose on with a great assuredness. Great opener.
2.) You Didn't wanna know
This is a catchy track which starts slowly then the catchy chorus comes in to take the track to it's highest level. There's some very good riffs here and the drumming combines well with the Rock guitar. Orianthi's vocals are well performed and whilst the song doesn't quite have the spark of the opener it is still a very fine track which gets better towards the end with a fine solo which is like a heavy rock Carlos Santana. Excellent stuff.
This is an interesting track which has a Lynyrd Skynyrd sound, The vocal effect gives Orianthi's voice and interesting tone and as the track moves along it gets into it's stride with a catchy authority. This is one of five tracks taken from the EP of the same name. There's again some excellent guitar work here but It doesn't quite have the same spark as the best tracks on the album. It's far from a bad track though. It has some excellent parts.
4.) If U Think U Know Me
This is a slower Country Rock track with gentle strumming and some catchy drums, Orianthi's vocals are more laid back and the track has an epic pop feel. I imagine it would go down well at her live concerts. It's not the best on the album but has some good things going for it. Like many tracks on the album this was a collaboration with Dave Stewart as they wrote the song together. There are six such tracks co written by the two on the album.
5.) How do you sleep?
This is a fabulous Blues track with some emotive guitar playing which is reminiscent of Carlos Santana again. Orianthi's vocals here are amongst the best on the album. I love the gentle keys in the background that give a nice emotive touch. This is a contender for best track on the album and Is another one from the "Fire" EP which was released in 2011. There's a terrific guitar solo towards the end that is played with passion, skill and emotion. It's a great track.
This is a Jimi Hendrix inspired track which has an old school feel, the catchy licks and hooks are well performed and Orianthi's vocals are fluid and backed well by the backing vocalists. This track doesn't quite have the spark that the best tracks here do but It's still an excellent track which again showcases her talent. My only gripe is that it's a little save at times but that is a minor issue which is somewhat redeemed by some excellent bluesy licks towards the end.
This is a slow burner which opens with gentle vocals and a catchy gentle riff. The song is a nice slice of Country Rock which has a sing along chorus and some nice guitar licks. I like the way the song progresses and the pace changes a little. Orianthi's vocals are well performed here as she shows that she's more than a guitarist. This is the longest song on the album and finishes with a nice understated guitar solo which tops things off well.
8.) Another You
Another slow burner here, this is a nice soft rock ballad which has an American Idol feel about it. It's a strong track with some nice guitar tones and her vocals are well performed. I like the way the song moves along. It's one of the new songs for the album and is a nice addition. There's a very good guitar solo towards the end which is joined by a heavier sound. I like the way the track takes this heavier turn as it's subtle and takes the track to a higher level. Good stuff.
9.) How does that feel?
This is a lovely ballad which has an R&B beat and some Lovely Eric Clapton like guitar tones from Orianthi. The lovely backing vocals are a fine touch and I love the way the song moves along. It's a really nice change of pace and it shows that she has the talent to work within several styles. It's one of the best songs on the album and features some excellent guitar solos where she breaks out the solo work. Excellent stuff.
10.) Filthy Blues
This is a catchy Blues track which has some dirty Blues sounds courtesy of some very catchy Blues riffs. Orianthi showcases her fine guitar work throughout this track. She's backed well by the drums and bass. This is one of the most dynamic tracks on the album and sounds excellent. It's one of the most well put together tracks on the album. There are some well performed guitar parts on the track which each sound different and they work well together.
11.) If U were here with Me
This is the final track from the "Fire" EP from 2011. It's a lovely slow burner with relaxed vocals and some simple drums and gentle guitar tones backed by some very gentle keys. It's a story teller type track and Orianthi's vocals tell the story well about wishing someone was there with you. I love the way the song develops and there's some excellent guitar work towards the end that is understated yet adds a nice emotion to the song, The solo is a little Clapton like too. Good stuff.
12.) Better with you
This is the final track on the album and is a catchy Pop/Rock track which has some catchy riffs and pounding drums. It's another strong track which would go down well at concerts with an ideal crowd participation for the chorus. It's not up there with the best tracks on the album but it shows again that there aren't any bad tracks on the album and she showcases some nice licks here and the chorus is infectious too. Good ending.
This is the third studio album from Orianthi and it's another very strong effort. She showcases her fine guitar playing and her vocals are again well performed. One little gripe is the lack of long songs. The longest is just over four and a half minutes long. I'd like at least one six or so Blues track which she has done before on the previous couple of albums. Having said all that it's a really solid effort which will no doubt enhance her reputation as a guitarist and singer. It's a good album indeed.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Heaven In This Hell
2 You Don't Wanna Know
4 If U Think U Know Me
5 How Do You Sleep?
8 Another You
9 How Does That Feel?
10 Filthy Blues
11 If U Were Here With Me