With the success of the previous album Midnight in Macedonia, Kitt Wakeley received Grammy nominations and won several best album, best producer, best songwriter, and many more awards to cap a stunning 2019, early 2020 period.
Kitt Wakeley recently told MetalTalk that “There is no doubt that 2019 and 2020 were a euphoric season for my music. It was an opportunity to show the world my labour of love, creativity and emotional release of hours, weeks and months of hard work.”
With the release of his latest piece of art, Symphony of Sinners and Saints, the creative genius stands well placed to better those achievements.
Kitt Wakeley: Symphony of Sinners and Saints
Release Date: Out Now
Words: Steve Ritchie
Kitt told us that, “The premise [of Symphony of Sinners and Saints] is an overall theme of Sinners and Saints, yin and yang, the constant conflict that we deal with every day. As you review the titles of the songs or listen to the music, those ideas become evident.
“The mere idea of a Rock band with an orchestra sets that tone. Within each song, there is a struggle of fire and ice between orchestral parts.
“Every vibe of each song is in contrast with the others, which emulates the theme of the album.”
And what a theme. The album is an incredibly potent mix of heavy rock rhythms juxtaposed with a classical orchestra and choir, and this is cinematic music at its most powerful and thrilling.
Opening track Wicked Ways launches the mind with images of Max Max style car chases in a post-apocalyptic scene, as shown on the album cover. The simple riff builds to a fully backed orchestra layered piece, with a breathtakingly fitting closing solo.
The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra recorded this project at London’s famed Abbey Road Studios. Conducted by Cliff Masterson, the way this layers the tracks with a tense atmosphere is exceptional in the second track, Sinners And Saints.
Forgive Me is one of two tracks featuring Joe Satriani. Kitt told MetalTalk that working with Satriani “makes it easier when it is someone of his calibre of talent” and how Joe let “the songs breath while adding perfection for guitars.”
The choral parts of Forgive Me lead the menacing style of the track, but Joe’s exceptional talent layers an ominous flavour alongside this.
Kitt initially asked Joe to play a solo. Kitt says, “If he felt like replaying the rhythm parts, that was icing on the cake. He emailed me a week later and asked if he could get a little more creative because he had some great ideas. I was anxious to hear his take on the [two] songs and the inspiration that he was feeling.
“He did an incredible job of letting the orchestra come through and maintain its parts, letting the song breath, while adding perfection for guitars. The end result speaks for itself.”
Obscenely good Satriani song
Conflicted is the second song to feature Joe, and he shines here. “Quite honestly, the result was an obscenely good Joe Satriani song,” Kitt says, and I cannot disagree with that.
The album is not all full-on rock. Both the exquisite piano-led Hello Again and No Apologies are laid back and suggest the themes of dramatic catastrophe in the cinematic story, while End Of My Journey leads towards a more happy ending.
The album finishes with the wonderful acoustic guitar picking led You Gave Me Wings, followed by the epic guitar solo led Echoes Of Amadeus.
Wakeley says the “purposeful thing that I do is to replicate a more traditional strong structure that you hear on the radio. The average listener does not always follow a classical or orchestral song structure. It is almost a subliminal thing, but I am trying to appeal to more than the orchestral fans.”
And with this album, he has achieved something spectacular. Heavier than its predecessor Midnight in Macedonia, Symphony of Sinners and Saints is quite simply breathtaking.
Played on a good set of speakers, or good quality headphones, it is quite possible to lose yourself for the 38-minute duration.
That this can also be played live is also exciting. Kitt says, “The goal is to get the audience involved by appealing to their visual and auditory senses. If we do it [lighting] correctly, you will hear the audience’s feedback as they feel euphoric and excited, while other parts of the show bring the audience to tears.
“Finally, it is my job to connect with the audience. So, I have monologues throughout the show that tell stories. Some dramatic and some funny. Ultimately, I want the entire show to appeal to every emotion of the audience member.”
If this comes to England, then I’ll be first in the ticket queue.
We have two copies of Kitt Wakeley’s Symphony of Sinners and Saints to give away.
To win a copy, say hi to email@example.com.
Please put Kitt in the email subject, so we know which competition you are applying for. UK only, sorry. Closing date 9 am, 9 July 2021.
Symphony of Sinners and Saints
1. Wicked Ways
2. Sinners and Saints
3. Forgive Me feat. Joe Satriani
4. Hello Again
5. Conflicted feat. Joe Satriani
6. No Apologies
7. Requiem of the Fallen
8. End of My Journey
9. You Gave Me Wings
10. Echoes of Amadeus