Fireworks

Tony MacAlpine - 'Tony MacAlpine' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/72/5e/eb/2293_tonymacalpinetonymacalpine_1339518472.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     June 12, 2012    
 
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Not his best but not bad at all.

I must admit that despite counting myself as a fan and reviewing guitarist/keyboardist Tony MacAlpine's last few projects with Steve Vai, Planet X, Devil's Slingshot and Seven The Hard Way, I hadn't listened to a solo record of his since 'Violent Machine' back in 1996. However, a recent re-acquaintance with his groundbreaking 'Edge Of Insanity' and 'Maximum Security' albums must have been something of a premonition (sic), as this new album unexpectedly dropped through my letterbox the very next day. His self-titled 11th release shows that nothing much has changed in solo MacAlpine land, the album being chock full of the same frenzied, neo-classical guitar instrumentals as before, albeit with a few jazzy twists held over from his resent fusion excursions.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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Wielding a customised eight-string Ibanez guitar on the cover, I assume that's the instrument he uses most here because the riffs have a chunkiness to them that gives a much heavier feel to the music than before. Staccato riffs, dense multi-tracked melody lines and frantic solos (with the occasional keyboard accompaniment) abound on the likes of 'Serpens Caude', 'Fire Mountain' and 'Pyrokinesis', and although MacAlpine adds drum programming to his duties on some of the tunes, these are three of the highlights that feature real drums, and by monster drummers Marco Minneman and Virgil Donati no less! There are more in this vein but thankfully the album isn't one dimensional and there are some slower and less metallic songs on offer, like the dramatic film score-like 'Angel Of Midnight', 'The Dedication' with its understated melody, or the simple acoustic guitar and piano piece 'Flowers For Monday'.

Apart from 'Oludeniz' outstaying its welcome and the breakneck '10 Seconds To Mercury' having a forced fusion section in the middle, there's not a lot wrong with this album. Indeed, I wouldn't hesitate to add the melodic Satriani-esque 'Dream Mechanism' or the Jeff Beck styled 'Blue Maserati' to a compilation of his best work. Not his best but not bad at all!

Phil Ashcroft

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