Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 120
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the first place. He reunited with
Burning Water vocalist David
Frazee, got drummer Alan
Hertz, keyboardist Larry Goldings, brother Teddy Landau on
bass, and bent some molecules.
The result is a dark and moody
rock record with smatterings
of '60s psychedelia with a Tom
The guitar tones and textures
are absolutely to die for. "Squirrels" eases you into a world of
undulating eeriness and sensuality. The peaks and valleys
prepare you for the rocking
"Bad Friends" with its spastic
drum groove and severe guitar
Landau is a master at mixing
velvet blues solos and atmospheric brush strokes like on
"Getting Old" and "We All Feel
The Same." He rocks out on
"We're Alright" and goes full
Band Of Gypsys with an Octavia
solo on "One Tear Away."
Frazee's emotional sincerity
deserves a standing ovation on
"Freedom" and you'll marvel
at Landau's melodic inventions
on the wee hours intoxication
of "Speak Now, Make Your
Peace." - OJ
and Glenn Tipton.
Al Joseph has funneled his mutant
prowess into his
first love - a real band. Taking over on
the mic and re-imagining the template
created on his previous album, the epic
instrumental All Of Creation, Al's melodic recipe contains blistering tunes with
dynamics and celestial guitar precision
galore - like a proggy Alter Bridge with
way better vocals.
Bassist Christopher Joseph, drummer
Fabrizio Cavallaro, and second guitarist Alon Mei-Tal manifest hard-hitting
drums, super time signatures, and shameless guitar solos and riffs that compel
high-fives and expletives. "Great Divide"
is intense and in your face.
You could nit-pick that Al is cheating
by reworking "Shift," "Shogun," "All Of
Creation," and "Elysium" from All Of
Creation into vocal compositions, but
what he's done with them here is truly
bodacious. Why waste good material?
They're mixed in with new face melting tunes like "Fire Escape," "Mirror
Master," and the poignant title track.
Al distinguishes himself from the
throng of post '90s shredders by incorporating a fearless emotional vulnerability
that not only translates in his lyrics, but
in his compositions, arranging, and
spiraling guitar solos. This new album
is packed with melody, conviction, and
compelling theatricality. - OJ
T he a r r iva l
of a new Judas
Priest album is
always cause for
this one's no exception. The opening
title cut is an explosion of jagged metal,
replete with double-kick drums, crunchy riffs,
and neoclassical axe harmonies. "Lighting
Strike" doesn't veer much from the classic
Priest formula, but who cares - the groove is
so heavy and relentless you'll be headbanging
Behind the mixer is the band's original
producer, Tom Allom, who captures the sonic
wall-of-amps that helped the British quintet
rise to fame. Even if you don't like metal, this
Marshall-stack thump will make any guitar
Cue up "Evil Never Dies" and dig that ripping
first solo - that's 70-year-old Glenn Tipton,
who sounds better than metalers half his age.
And vocalist Rob Halford is still hitting those
dog-whistle notes at age 66.
The second lead is from latest member Richie
Faulkner, a young monster who is one of the
best things to happen to the mighty Priest.
"Children Of The Sun" proves Faulkner can
rip, yet also conjures the tasty Euro style of
Uli Jon Roth and Randy Rhoads.
More than four decades on, Priest is rockin'
harder and heavier than ever. Firepower is a
must-grab slab of metal. - Pete Prown