TONY MACALPINE – Concrete Gardens
April 17, 2015, 4 years ago
(Sun Dog Records)
Concrete Gardens is the 12th solo studio album from guitar wizard Tony MacAlpine (Vinnie Moore, Planet X, CAB, Steve Vai). Completely instrumental, this 59-minute neoclassical metal apex begins with the high-revving “Exhibitionist Blvd”. While MacAlpine is an undeniably talented guitarist, he’s far from being just a flashy show-off, as that title might suggest. In fact, his impressive skills are put to use making melody lines take the place of lyrics; thereby building unique songs full of colourful character. “Man In A Metal Cage” takes the listener on an adventurous journey, “Napoleon’s Puppet” is quite simply dazzling, and “Confessions Of A Medieval Monument” puts forth a progressive paradise.
Current Arch Enemy and former Nevermore guitarist Jeff Loomis makes a welcome guest appearance on the varied yet invigorating “Square Circles”. Admittedly there’s no shortage of shredding on Concrete Gardens, but thankfully it’s all for the greater good, and not to show Mom how fast Tony can play. Unfortunately, album closer “Maiden’s Wish” is an old-fashioned, piano-only affair that would be right at home accompanying the silent black & white films of the early 1900s; but has no business being on this electrified album of modern guitar genius. With 11 out of 12 songs pretty much hitting the bull’s-eye, MacAlpine is forgiven for a single misstep. Of note to collectors, a special limited edition version of Concrete Gardens, containing a bonus DVD featuring the album performed live by Tony and his band at EMGtv is available, in addition to the stand-alone CD or digital format.