2022 is looking bright for Italian music producer and multi-instrumentalist Julyo. On July the 2nd of this year, the Recording Academy officially invited Julyo to become one of the Class ’22 voting members, along with Singer/Songwriter Monogem, pop artist Tillie, and hip hop producer GreekDaGod, and other music professionals.
The most recent releases featuring Julyo were the remix of Italo-disco underground gem “Passion Night” (Miro), and the 2020 cover of Il Volo’s hit single “Grande Amore” (“An Grá Mór” with Ciara Donnelly and Dario Rodighiero, featuring legendary violinist Steve Wickham). Previously the Jeff Beck-influenced ballad “Last Table” (featuring Dario Rodighiero on keyboards, Fabio Kasho on bass, Peter Conrey & Dean McCarthy on saxophone again).
“Rock Anthems” comes as both a surprise and nostalgia trip, a tribute to the early Julyo’s guitar work on records like “C.O.T.U.” and the early beginning as a rock guitarist in the native city of Genoa. Julyo’s first album was the independently released “Versus Fate,” printed on physical audio C.D.s and still unavailable online. “Rock Anthems” is a 5-track E.P., recorded in between studio sessions at Pirate Studios and Yellow Door Studios in Dublin, Ireland; the recording has been voluntarily left as raw and spontaneous as possible (as Julyo himself states in the social media posts). As a result, an instrumental rock E.P. looks more in the direction of rock guitarists Michael Schenker or even Tristan Thomas (Florence Black) than the virtuoso guitar heroes Steve Vai or Guthrie Gowan.
“Rock Anthems” is more a tribute to some of the songs that were probably a significant influence for Julyo during his early years rather than a guitar skills showcase. Some top moments are the solos in Aerosmith’s classic power ballad “Angel” and the Randy Rhoads-influenced solos in Alice Cooper’s infamous rock anthem “I’m Eighteen.” The opening track, a solid re-rendition of Bon Jovi’s MTV hit “Wanted Dead or Alive,” is close to the original and personal when Julyo’s lead guitar lines go in a different direction, replacing Bon Jovi’s powerful vocals.
I feel this E.P. is perhaps more of a taste of an upcoming L.P., considering that the closing track, a haunting instrumental version of Marilyn Manson’s glam rock ballad “Coma White.” Additionally, the instrumental shows a minimalistic semi-blues approach that goes radically opposite to the other trails in the album. Julyo’s social media presence (especially on his official Instagram page) seems to point in the direction of more releases this year. For now, the short work “Rock Anthems” is an enjoyable instrumental rock journey with some remarkable solos and inspired guitar work.