Equally indebted to Yngwie Malmsteen and Satan, The Grand Guignol hisses and haunts like The Exorcist soundtrack cranked through Marshall stacks. It's a mix of subtlety and speed, with Cleveland guitarist Kolar paying tribute to deceased Savatage great Cris Oliva with one screaming solo after the next.
But what separates Kolar from so many other faceless shredders is that he's as much about atmosphere as arpeggios. Blinding fretwork is foremost here, but Kolar also infuses Guignol with Gregorian chants, icy pockets of piano, and ethereal synth. The album's centerpiece comes early, with the 10-minute "Temples of Instinct," a sunless shuffle that intermingles electronics with thunderclaps of guitar. More abbreviated, but no less elaborate, are the funereal, old-world incantation "La Viccia Religione" and the savage "Rave New World," which rattles teeth like artillery fire.