Track By Track - Shadow Eden - Perpetual Motion

By John A. Wilcox

I love driving, wild rock guitar. Hot licks, wild riffs, gonzo playing. This album is packed with lightning licks and songs you'll play over and over. It's hot enough to melt diamonds! Shadow Eden's guitarist Dave Mercado takes us through the album track by track...

Track 1: Tenets Of Time
DM: This song is reflection of the following thought processes: Do we move through time, or does time move through us? Is time real, or is it simply a man made construct to measure mortality? Heavy stuff for an all instrumental track written when I was in college studying music composition and education in the early 1990's. There are two time signatures being played throughout the entire song. The rhythm sections are for the most part in 4/4 timing, with the metric emphasis on two alternating with measures of four, while the lead guitar parts are in 6/8. It's subtle & the listener is tipped off after the frantic guitar solo and the toccata & fugue breakdown (hat tip to JS Bach) when the band plays in 6/8 and the guitar part reverts to 4/4. Shadow Eden keeps the prog subtle. Pete Townsend said it best, Keep it simple so that you can take the audience with you.

Track 2: The Third Man
DM:Whether struggling to climb Everest or trying to save yourself from the terror attacks on World Trade Center, The Third Man has been there to guide or encourage people to carry on....
As a young aspiring guitarist I once heard a quote from John Lennon avoid hackneyed lyrics. It made an impression upon me. I've taken this to my rhythm playing. Most guitarist use chords that they learned through study & quite frankly, most accomplished guitarists forget that the guitar is first and foremost a rhythm instrument. In this piece, from a tonal perspective I relied upon intervals of a 10th (which is a piano voicing) and avoided 4ths, 5th's, 3rd's etc. to give the guitar an expansive sound. I built this around a harmonized chord progression in Bm. I avoid using standard bar chords as much as possible, and in the bridge section I rely on inverted jazz chords (minor 11th, 9th, etc. and wherein the root of the chord is hidden in the center) further intriguing the listener to find the resolution. The guitar solo is in D-Major, relative to Bm, and after the initial run I use a two handed arpeggiation wherein my left hand taps out the roots of the respective chords while the right hand taps out a harmonized lead. Just as aside, I've been using this technique long before Tosin Abasi hit the scene…just sayin'….

Track 3: Perpetual Motion
DM: Controlled fretboard chaos! This is the CD's title track and it features many of the techniques I mentioned previously, except my goal here was that it shouldn't stop. I wanted the listener to be overwhelmed and to feel as if they are losing their breath!!! Many shred guitarists use licks copied from neo-classical masters like Malmsteen and while I enjoy and sometimes revert to those stylings I completely avoided them in this song. Instead I tried using licks/phrases more like those by Al DiMeola, John McLaughlin, Howard Roberts, Robert Fripp, Steve Howe, except MUCH faster( I think the click was set to 158 so imagine 32nd notes played at that tempo lol ). To contrast the “jazzy-metal” licks, I threw in some Eddie Van Halen style runs in the bridge sections. After each odd time refrain the late great bass virtuoso Randy Coven was allowed to weigh in on behalf of bassists everywhere….essentially this song was intended to be a fun uplifting piece ….in two words…. Prog-Porn.

Track 4: Event Horizon
DM: Your last chance before you undergo Spaghettification, and as you enter the singularity. It's the most forthright progressive piece on the CD and very subtly uses bits from all of the previous songs. The odd time intro is actually 4/4…the guitar meter makes it odd time especially since it is played off of the clave. The guitar solo is premised upon the Phrygian mode and is not for the faint of heart. When the CD was released, this song became a radio favorite and helped Perpetual Motion reach number one in January of 2015, and helped keep it in the TOP 20 of the CMJ Loud / Heavy Chart for 6 weeks.

Track 5: Young Frankenstein
DM: Our rendition of the Edgar Winter classic. When we were learning the song I asked my band mates This is quite the undertaking….who is going to play the horn & keyboard parts??...... They looked at me and laughed…….to the old adage be careful what you wish for…. The end result… a LIVE TAKE FROM THE STUDIO and it sounds nothing short of huge. I did double track the rhythm and lead tracks to give it a fuller sound, however, all of the parts are spot on in keeping with the classic. This was our intent, to have a three piece band take on the timbre and complexity of a multi instrument band and to effortlessly execute the parts.

Track 6: Algorhythm
DM: In my opinion, if you play the electric guitar and your technique doesn't transfer over to the acoustic, then you're not a guitarist. Sorry…. I know opinions are subjective however what would one say about a keyboardist who could not play on a piano? On this piece, I wanted to pay homage to Al DiMeola, whose music helped through some tough times in my informative years (I'm a Type I diabetic) and his guitar playing inspired me to add structure and purpose to what I had hoped to achieve. Hopefully this piece does justice to his enormous contributions to the genre…..


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