Destination may be unknown, but this is how you get there.
An aptly titled album that could be a reflection on Ivan Mihaljevic's life ambition, but the talent displayed on the record is clearly the vehicle he is going to use to get there. There is a variety of styles contained on the record, and this almost feels like a self promotion artwork; showing the industry what he is capable of. This may not be the case, but from the onset it is clear whose work 'Destination Unknown' is. Mihaljevic wrote all the songs (except 'Hollow Wish'); and he provides most of the vocals, guitars and keyboards. He even produced, engineered and mixed most of the album. This is clearly a solo project, in the true sense of the word, but with a little help from the "Side Effects", aka Majkl Jagunic (bass) and Alen Frljak (drums); and a variety of guest artists.
At the tender age of 24, Ivan is clearly very talented and experienced. He may even be a young Satriani or Vai. He has an extensive CV, which includes playing for one of Croatia's top rock outfits, Hard Time; and with support acts for big names including Paul Gilbert, Scorpions, Cult and even Les Paul, he has certainly been exposed to some large crowds. My only concern is that he will remain a big fish in a little pond if he stays in Croatia. Perhaps London is calling, or is it Vegas baby?
Vocally Ivan is not the new Dio, but he certainly is good enough to provide vocals on solid rock tracks. Sometimes the songs lack a bit of lyrical meaning and could be a bit corny, saying that, it is accompanied by plenty of technical skill so this could be forgiven.
'Instant Star (Add Water)' is a standard Zakk Wylde fuelled, American rock song. It is an easy listening rock track with catchy riffs and very radio friendly. The second track, 'The Curse', is a little gentler at the onset with a gentle guitar and heart felt vocals. It gets a little heavier further in and more melancholic and dramatic, with a heavy rock outro.
It is with tracks like 'Choosh Pies', 'Dreamscapes' and 'The Pirate Song' where Ivan Mihaljevic's talent is clearly displayed. The songs are filled with groovy licks, shredding, finger tapping, string bending, you name it; reminding you perhaps of early Vai or Satch solo projects.
'Post-apocalyptic Images' starts with a gentle piano intro, which is a major change to all the shredding, but with vocals delivered with as much feeling as an X-Factor audition; reminding me of a Bon Jovi ballad. 'Shadows', on the other hand, has vocals and lyrics sounding more like something you would expect on a "Tenacious D" album. 'Sorry Pt. I' and 'Sorry Pt. II' are slightly progressive and predominantly instrumentals reminding me of the Pink Floyd "Animals"/"Wish You Were Here" era. 'Your Plane Flew Away' is more eighties hair rock sounding like Def Leppard or G'N'R, with 'Hollow Wish' bringing a very enjoyable album to a close.
Whilst Ivan Mihaljevic is clearly not yet on the same level as Satch or Vai, he certainly has the talent and ambition. With the right exposure and support he may even be a contender for a future "G3" show.