“Back in Time” is Varghese’s first US release but he recorded “Out of the Dark” in India back in 2001. Listening to “Back in Time” is the next evolutionary step in his musical career.
The album opens with “Lost in the Wind.” This, and every track on the album, was composed by Varghese. Not only a brilliant guitarist, Varghese proves himself to be a fine composer.
Much of what it heard on “Back in Time” is progressive rock in the style of Dream Theatre and others. He often sounds like Joe Satriani, Steve Lukather or Trevor Rabin.
Steve DeMar on bass and Wilfred DeMaz on drums contribute the powerful rhythm section and they prove that power right off the bat in the first track.
The title track, “Back in Time,” follows next and features Parth Chandriramani on flute. A bit of Steve Hackett peaks through on guitar here. The hard grind of the guitar is offset by the butterfly imagery of the flute. Tony Das provides rhythm guitar in support of Varghese’s lead.
“Caught in a Dream” features Larry Mitchell on guitars with Varghese. Gus Apostol’s contributions on keyboards add to the progressive effect.
With both splendid guitarists on the track, it reminds of GTR’s conjunction of Steve Howe and Steve Hackett but, this time, with a tougher edge.
“Eternity” gives the full Satriani treatment. The aggressive drive is a hallmark of Varghese’s approach. The piece is self-explanatory as to why Varghese is often called a hard rock guitarist.
“Crystal Waves” is a more lyrical piece than all the rest. With Varghese is Tony Das on guitar and Karthick Iyer on violin. It very well may be the most emotional piece on the album. The addition of Iyer’s violin is sweet, indeed.
“Skipping Stones” was the first instrumental piece written by Varghese and was written back in 1996. The sheer power is impressive.
“Back in Time” has everything a Jazz-rocker wants: speed, power and precision. Varghese has it all. His virtuosity is unquestionable and his drive for musical success is unstoppable.
~Travis Rogers, Jr. is The Jazz Owl