As we’d mentioned before, Tony MacAlpine has a CD coming out shortly or if you’ve preordered then make that sentence past tense.
It’s been a solid decade since his last studio solo album Chromaticity was released, and that’s quite a wait, if you ask me – so let’s dive face first into this musical swimming pool and find out whether or not it’s empty the hard way.
The age old saying that you can’t judge a book by its cover is arguable in this case. On the front you have a guy nearly poking your eye out with an 8-string electric guitar and blasted through the middle in huge letters reads “Tony MacAlpine”. At parts the album is as deep and heavy as you’d expect from an 8-stringer and every bit as complex as Tony MacAlpine can be.
The album right off the bat bloodied my nose with a heavy guitar punch straight to the face and it was friggin awesome. The album maintains its energy throughout and MacAlpine’s technical mastery of the instrument is ever present on every track. Not one of them comes off like he started to slack off. Miraculously enough, he’s able to stay on beat while playing the ludicrously complicated pieces that he does. His sense of dynamics is also appreciated here. The art of dynamics seems to be dying, but Tony’s sure isn’t the hand twisting that knife. The album is loud when it wants to be and quiet when it needs to be.
Stylistically speaking some songs are straight forward like the opener “Serpens Cauda”, but there are some experimental gems in there like “10 Seconds to Mercury” which is like that kid sitting in a waiting room for an elongated period of time. His parents want him to sit down and be calm, but he’s so hyped up on childhood energy that he’s everywhere but the chair he’s supposed to be waiting in.
I can’t go without mentioning “Angel of Twilight”. If “Serpens Cauda” was a punch to the face then “Angel of Twilight” was like a roundhouse kick to the crotch. Twice. And it rocked.
The bass is mostly performed by Tony with the exception being “Olundeniz” which was performed by Phillip Bynoe. The percussion either played by Virgin Donati, Marco Minnemann, or was programmed by Tony. All additional musicians performed every bit as well as their reputation would lead you to believe. And Tony of course played keyboards which are every bit as well done as his guitar playing, though they do a great job at eccentuating the guitars they are seldom the primary focus.
Tony MacAlpine’s not a slack ass and he doesn’t even remotely come close to maybe considering that he possibly could some day think about testing the waters of slack assery here. It’s a solid performance with great melodies mired in tasteful harmonies and satisfyingly heavy guitar riffs.
I don’t think he’s gonna win over the hearts of the acoustic soft rock demographic so if high energy heavier music isn’t your thing – keep walking. On the flip side if you dig guys that push themselves to the limit then don’t settle for chump imitators. Tony MacAlpine’s many talents are on display in full force and they’re certainly worth the time of day.
PS. Tony MacAlpine is a shredding machine. Literally. You could properly dispose of unwanted documents and credit cards with his guitar mastery.
So head on over here and pick up a copy of this album. You can get it 3 different packages, listed at the aforementioned page.