We all know that without Fender and Marshall we’d all be pretty glum. And we wouldn’t have Rock N Roll music. Ever since Robert Young sold his soul to the Devil, standing at the Crossroads away back in the 1930’s, the story of Rock music has only ever been about one thing: the electric guitar and to celebrate this Mascot Records has delved into their rostra of axe Gods and offered up a mouth watering selection of mostly instrumental guitar wizardry from noted players such as Steve Morse, Marty Friedman to a couple of unknowns names, Neil Zaza and Greg Koch.
Opening salvo ‘’Needles Ca’’ comes from ex-MARILYN MANSON guitarist and it’s a bit of a rabble rousing Metal tour de force. The riffing is very much in the MEGADETH/ ANNIHILATOR Thrash type vein. It’s definitely not for the feint of heart. The solos are laid down with humiliating ease. Although lacking in vocals it’s a solid Metal start to the album. DEEP PURPLE new boy! Steve Morse sails through the catchy contemporary acoustic jam, ‘‘Wooden Music’’ with ease. Style wise it has a very American flavour to it like BLIND MELON and couldn’t be further from the PURPLE Hard Rock sound you are more accustomed to hearing to. Marty Friedman’s ‘’Lust For Life’’ is not what you’d expect from the man who once partnered the mighty Dave Mustaine. This gentle, sweeping ballad is more in the style of Classic AOR Rock than MEGADETH Metal. It’s simple but very well played. Just goes to show a million miles an hour is not always the best thing.
Neil Zaza’s ‘’Lift’’ is another slice of classy Rock guitar music similar to SATARIANI in his ‘’Extremist’’ days, the mad German Michael Schenker’s ‘’I’ve Got The Fire’’ is a bit of let down (the MAIDEN version is way better). George Lynch provides a decent cover of HENDRIX’S ‘’All Along The Watchtower’’ whilst one of my favourite guitarist Paul Gilbert serves up a Classically inspired treat with ‘’G.V.R.O.’’ Those with a penchant for Jazz Fusion will delight in the playing of Greg Koch’s ‘’The Damn Thing’’ and VITAL INFORMATION’S ‘’Come On In’’ whereas if you wanna Rock then go for Joe Bonamassa’s Bluesy fast paced number ‘’Travelling South’’ Failing that just head straight for RACER X as they do their best to out PRIEST JUDAS PRIEST on the titanic ‘’Superheroes’’
From Metal to Rock to Acoustic to Jazz to Blues Mascot Records have covered just about everywhere on this guitar tribute album and there’s songs that well appeal to all and may well contain a few surprises. (Online December 21, 2004)