Angel Vivaldi takes a radical Latin turn and embraces his inner Santana on virtuosic new single, Eight

Angel Vivaldi
(Image credit: Angel Vivaldi/YouTube)

Angel Vivaldi has announced the release date of his long-awaited upcoming EP, Away With Words: Part 2, and has previewed the forthcoming effort with Eight – a four-minute fretboard masterclass that sees the prog metal maestro take a radical latin turn.

Unlike the Charvel signature artist’s first Away With Words installment from 2014, which was much heavier by nature, Eight sees Vivaldi hark back to his early inspirations, drawing on the melodic feel of legendary musicians such as Carlos Santana and Chick Corea.

Indeed, Eight carries a whiff of Corea’s Spain with its up-tempo chord progressions, and an edge of Santana’s flamenco-esque licks, which are revamped and reimagined through the fretboard of a particularly eye-grabbing road worn version of Vivalvdi’s Charvel Signature Pro-Mod DK24-6 NOVA.

Having said that, it is a Vivaldi track, so the lead lines carry all the hallmarks of his playing, from blistering legato licks to more selective modal phrases. There are a handful of extended solo passages in all, so there’s no shortage of jaw-dropping left-hand acrobatics throughout.

As for what encouraged him to take his playing down these fresh avenues and revisit the styles of his heroes, Vivaldi tells Guitar World it all came down to the fact “there was this huge part of who I am as a songwriter that I was neglecting”.

“It's impossible to be fully authentic when you’re unable to express a part of who you are as an artist,” he says. “Many musicians, especially those who gain popularity by doing a particular style of music, struggle with the desire to do something completely different but don't out of fear, risk or any number of reasons. It's why we eventually see solo projects pop up from these individuals.”

Though Corea and Santana’s influences can be heard all over Eight, the track also drew inspiration from other artists such as jam heroes Snarky Puppy and Latin jazz legend Tito Puente.

Angel Vivaldi

(Image credit: Press)

“As I grew up and met more musicians in the New York area, I was exposed to tons of new music ranging from jazz, fusion, funk, progressive rock and of course a fair amount of guitar focused music,” Vivaldi explains. “This upcoming release is the result of those influences. They each get their due and tell a completely different story.”

In that vein, no two tracks of Away With Words: Part 2 will sound the same, with Vivaldi describing the final five-track collection to Guitar World as a sprawling “sonic ecosystem”.

“Few words can describe what it feels like to finally share the full scope of this concept record nine years after I started it,” he reflected in a statement. “While the seeds I initially planted took longer to bear fruit, I’m grateful it took this long as it helped to make the grapes that much sweeter.”

And, as for the relic’d Pro-Mod DK24-6 NOVA that was used for Eight, Vivaldi dashed hopes that it will be released as a signature model in the future, saying it was purpose-built for the track’s music video.

“While we won't be releasing this as a production model, we are working on some very exciting additions to my signature line for the near-future,” Vivaldi teased.

  • Away With Words: Part 2 will arrive April 7.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.