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Tony MacAlpine

Consummate West Coast guitarist Tony MacAlpine embarks upon a harmonious and at times ferocious search and destroy mission on his 13th solo album. Assisted by bassist Philip Bynoe on one piece, and all-universe drummers Marco Minnemann and Virgil Donati sharing duties, the program offers a hearty track mix. Here, MacAlpine pays close attention to compositional structure unlike many other prog-metal guitar albums, leaning heavily on the technical gymnastics side amid mediocre song-forms. He also multitasks by overlaying keys, bass and handling the programming spectrum. MacAlpine shreds into the netherworld with a spirited modus operandi framed on scorching crunch chords, cleanly articulated legato phrasings, and rifling single note licks.

The guitarist steers a ship complete with unrelenting pulses and polyrhythmic unison choruses. He intersperses these works with tuneful hooks and introduces a cogent playing field that fuses hardcore progressive-metal with memorable themes. Not as jazz-rock oriented evidenced via his longtime affiliation with the group CAB, yet MacAlpine's influential, and wide-ranging technical faculties sparkle luminously throughout. With arcing patterns, stinging dynamics and a few temperate moments, he merges a doomsday panorama with subtle expeditions, including spots featuring his expertise as a classical guitarist. Yet he realigns the charging impetus with distortion-heavy wah-wah licks on pieces such as "Pyrokinesis."

MacAlpine seizes the listener's attention by way of twirling upper-register phrasings and speed-of-light riffs, treated with soulful inflections and jazzy improvisational opuses. Indeed, he raises the bar and soars above common ground once again on this lusciously aggressive and often mesmerizing production.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Tony MacAlpine
  • CD Title: Tony MacAlpine
  • Genre: Progressive
  • Year Released: 2011
  • Record Label: Favored Nations
  • Musicians: Tony MacAlpine (guitar, keyboards, bass, programming), Virgil Donati (drums on #1, #5, #10), Marco Minnemann (drums on #3, #4, #8, #12), Philip Bynoe (bass on #2)
  • Rating: Five Stars
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