Album Review: “Alien Love Secrets” Steve Vai


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This astounding Long Island guitarist Steve Vai much like shredders Joe Satriani of Chickenfoot and John Petrucci of Dream Theater, has received critical acclaim.  Being the second EP of Vai’s highly composed work, some songs prove otherwise his head and hands work well joined to make lasting impressions to the listener.  “Bad Horsie” is a fluid beyond a reasonable doubt of Steve’s playing technique.  The heavy distortion added with a some elements of Eddie Van Halen double tapping speaks for itself.  Also, “Juice” is somewhat atmospheric to Joe Satriani’s single “Satch Boogie.”  Perhaps instead of “Juice” it could have been “Steve Boogie,” but I guess that did not come to mind. But disaster strikes. “Ya-Yo Gakk” seems more like a children’s song.  No way should someone have to listen to good music and go through misunderstanding with that disastrous tune of lyrics.  Nevertheless, enjoy the album and prepare for the worse.  [B-]

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Album Review: “Bark at the Moon” Ozzy Osbourne


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Ozzy Osbourne’s third studio album, “Bark at the Moon,” is one of the best true heavy metal albums to own.  After the sudden death of neoclassical metal figure Randy Rhaods, this stumped Ozzy’s ability to continuing releasing albums for his solo group.  As Ozzy said once reflecting Randy’s death due to the senseless plane crash, “it was tough because my dreams were shattered.”  Nonetheless, he managed to find LA based guitarist Jake E. Lee to make his debut on the album.  His performance was outstanding.  The song title of the album “Bark at the Moon,” juices up with riffs that has roots from the rise of NWOBHM (New Wave of British Heavy Metal) groups like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest.  The song has 2 catchy solos.  The first has a similar style to Rhaod’s playing while the other one is largely comparable to Metallica’s Kirk Hammet playing.  Both of these guitarist in fact largely influenced Lee’s guitar capabilities.  “So Tired” has the correct title for being a pretty much boring slow Ozzy song.  Sorry, but I would rather hear “Centre of Eternity” more.  It has the kick ass keyboard playing much like that of “Mr Crowley” and the speed of Jake’s guitar high on heroin playing Van Halen and Iron Maiden riffs.  And this album is not the best Ozzy album unlike the two others, “Blizzard of Ozz” and “Diary of a Madman,” it still sold well proving Ozzy to have the taste of being a successful metal artist not only with Black Sabbath, but with his solo work. [B]

Album Review: “Flying In a Blue Dream” Joe Satriani


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Joe Satriani is one of the most influential instrumental guitarist to exist.  Probably one of the most technically innovative as well.  A key player with a line of shredders in his time such as John Petrucci, Marty Friedman, Jason Becker, Steve Vai, etc, Satriani makes his way through fame with his third released album.  And though it may not appeal to hardcore fans of him, he does sing for the first time.  And even if this album does not fascinate many people like the previous Satriani album, “Surfing With the Alien,” it still has some nice songs added.  “Big Bad Moon” has a sound of Yardbirds/Eric Clapton riffs and a nice solo added to it.  “Back to Shalla-Bal” and “The Bells of Lal”(Part 2) reflect some of Joe’s older songs including “Circles” and Satch Boogie.”  Long time listeners of Joe will hopefully be more influenced by music.  Unfamiliarity with him will require research and some digging through his two precious albums, “Not of This Earth” and “Surfing With the Alien.”  Some listeners may not entirely enjoy the sound this album offers compared to the two previous albums mentioned above. [C]

Album Review: “Dark Roots of Earth” Testament


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Testament is one of the most well-known group of the thrash metal scene.  Formed in the California much like other thrash groups including Exodus and Metallica, they have learned to adjust hard rock out playing of music.  Being the tenth studio album, the listeners can understand why Testament is good at drawing in a lot of people.  Although not selling as many albums when compared to Metallica, they can still drag in great guitar solos.  “Rise Up” “Last Stand for Independence”  and “Native Blood” are one of the harshest played songs of the album.  Careful listening to “Rise Up” displays Alex Skolnick and Eric Peterson’s style of playing guitar.  They both do it well to create the band’s dynamic game planning.  Furthermore, Chuck Billy provides vocals to let out his lungs of music about his Native American, war, and politics.  “Dark Roots of Earth” like many other Testament songs in this album, contains power chords and heavy distortion that Skolnick and Peterson use.  Even more amazing is the solo that Alex Skolnick and Peterson provides that has improvisations of Randy Rhaods and Yngwie Malmsteen.  This album will impress the average fan of Testament, as it even has some reflections of music going back to “The New Order” album. [B+]

Album Review: “Iron Maiden” Iron Maiden


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Wow what a great band!  Iron Maiden’s debut album “Iron Maiden,” hits the ceiling of the heavy metal community with richness in music.  With the high power chords that Iron Maiden is especially known for, their music would become one of the greatest to hear.  With the 35th anniversary release of this album hitting hard now,  the group has achieved success with this album.  “Prowler” and “Sanctuary” are one of a few songs proven that Iron Maiden can rock out.  Guitarist Dave Murray musically stays on top providing the solos that go with typical Maiden songs.  The self titled “Iron Maiden” track is the most enjoyable tune that many hardcore fans will enjoy.  Sitting down and putting on the headphone to embrace the fast power chords and chromatic notes played at a high tempo.  This album undoubtedly is one of Iron Maiden’s creative avenues. [A-]

Album Review: “Marching Out” Yngwie J. Malmsteen


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Released in 1985, this years marks the 30th anniversary of Yngwie Malmsteen’s second studio album.  Again, an excellent album that makes Malmsteen drill a baseball all the way out of the ballpark with his unbelievable speed.  Typical Yngwie songs contain the neoclassical arpeggiated solos that he is known for.  “I’ll See the Light Tonight,” “I Am a Viking,” and “Soldier Without Faith” are one of many Malmsteen’s song that have made him one of the fastest guitarist of all time. The key is to understand the high pitch melodies and classical music environment that Malmsteen provides.  The big dogs of neoclassical music was Randy Rhoads and Ritchie Blackmore.  Malmsteen would however blow people’s mind away with his music.  He would be progressed with many other guitarists of the 1980’s including Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Jason Becker, and Marty Friedman.   “Marching Out” is an album much like “Rising Force” well worth paying for, even though it might be slightly different.  [B-]

“I Am a Viking”

Album Review: “Rising Force” Yngwie J. Malmsteen


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Big guitar names like Eddie Van Halen and Randy Rhoads were heard before the time Yngwie J Malmsteen spotlighted the music scene.  Probably one of the most respected technically innovative guitarists of the 1980’s, Malmsteen shreds like wildfire.  Hint why flames appear on his first studio album.  Originally released in 1984, “Rising Force” proved Malmsteen’s power machine that would follow him for many years to come.  Songs “Black Star,” “Far Beyond the Sun,” “As Above So Below,” and “Evil Eye” resonate his true guitar playing that became key for Neoclassical metal.  By infusing classical music with heavy metal, Malmsteen became a god shredder much like Jason Becker and Marty Friedman at the same time. Any huge fan of neoclassical metal would want to hear this bad ass album. [B]

“As Above So Below” and “Far Beyond the Sun” by Yngwie Malmsteen

Album Review: “Cat Scratch Fever” Ted Nugent


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The wild Ted Nugent man knows how to kick ass with his guitar.  The hunter guitarist goes wild on songs like “Cat Scratch Fever” and “Wang Dang Sweet Pootang.”  He manages to hang on to perform solos that resemble that of Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton.  “Home Bound” touches heavily on Nugent’s hit single “Stranglehold.”  Great job Ted, you have released an album that will impress many more people to come. [B]

“Cat Scratch Fever” by Ted Nugent

Album Review: “Ah Via Musicom” by Eric Johnson


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Listening to blues guitarist Eric Johnson could not have been more exciting.  Not a true metal guy, but a highly remarkable rock melodic kind of guitarist.  The epic song “Cliffs of Dover” shows off Eric’s style of bluesy instrumental playing.  This song has undoubtedly become one of the greatest instrumental pieces ever created.  True virtuosic music at my ears with Eric’s arpeggios.  “Desert Rose” and “High Landrons,” infused with some Jimi Hendrix riffs and Aerosmith as well.  “Steve’s Boogie” is a tasteful instrumental country song that Johnson performs.  Simply put it, Johnson’s diverse music background makes him an awesome guitarist that proves this album’s worthiness.  [B]

“Cliffs of Dover” by Eric Johnson

Album Review: “Revenge of the Shredlord” Joe Stump


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What indeed a shredlord Joe Stump is.  For one thing, he has gained attention as one of the fastest playing guitarists.  In latest album “Revenge of the Shredlord,” Stump brings his audience a true artistic shredder ready for performing music.  Being influenced by Jimi Hendrix, Ritchie Blackmore, classical music, and largely Yngwie Malmsteen, Joe is able to provide technical demanding neoclassical music in the air.  Songs like “Man Your Battlestations” and “Shredlord’s Sonata” both have the Malmsteen element sound that is key for Joe’s guitar playing.  The enormous speed of Yngwie’s style of playing has earned Stump the spot of a highly respected shredder along with other guitarists including John Petrucci of Dream Theater and Alex Skolnick (Testament), both of which Malmsteen influenced.  For anyone into the shred guitarists, this album will make you smile if you especially are into Malmsteen influenced players. [B]

“The Ritual,” “Man Your Battlestations,” and “Shredlord’s Sonata” by Joe Stump