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Every other musician, put your guitar down and listen
on 24 May 2009
This album was bought by me on cassette in 1988, has since been bought on CD and then the Legacy edition too (which is a good buy - the Montreux show is top class). I`m reviewing it, as have so many others, because it`s so incredible that you feel you have to say something! It`s the sort of album that I cannot imagine ever feeling anything other than utter disbelief and delight when listening to. It`s truly amazing.
Each song has, of course, become famous in it`s own right, and Joe still has to play them live even now; simply because the songs are as vital twenty plus years on as they were back when no one thought guitar instrumentalists had anything to offer the dodgy eighties scene. Opening up with the title track, like the fist emerging from the back cover, it punches you right between the eyes! If Joe just had the chops, and no imagination, you`d respect him but his ideas and technique combined are absolutely frightening. Followed by "Ice Nine" - probably the best of them all, due to the chilling three solos before the famous "lizard down the throat" interlude. "Crushing Day" and "Always With Me, Always With You" are brilliant, particularly the contrast they offer with one following the other. Check out the extended live version of the latter, it`s magnificent. "Satch Boogie" is next, breathless and with a tap-fest to satisfy EVH`s biggest fans. Slight dip in pace with "Hill Of The Skull", and you`ll need technique and serious pick-ups to get those harmonics between the second and third fret if you try and play it, but the switch in "Circles" from gentle but slightly dark rhythm to all-out wahwah attack and back to rhythm is breathtaking. "Lords of Karma" and "Echo" are almost forgotten by some in the context of the majesty that preceded them, but they are two of my favourite Joe songs, and as usual they offer everything that guitars, a bass guitar and drummer can. These two great tracks are interrupted by the tapping masterclass of "Midnight", which will stay with you even if you don`t listen to the album for months.
How I`ve written anything coherent about this CD I`ll never know; because in truth, it`ll leave you speechless.