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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Alcatrazz

Disturbing the Peace

Review by G. W. Hill

This new edition of a a classic Alcatrazz album is great. Not only do you get the entire original album, but it also includes a number of bonus tracks, most of them instrumental demos. If that wasn't enough, there is also a DVD of a concert from 1984. The concert video is actually quite good, and that's just a bonus. This band might have been a Graham Bonnet vehicle, but he sure had a way of lining up some great guitarists. Their original axeman was Yngwie Malmsteen. He's replaced here by none other than Steve Vai. I think this might be their best studio release. It just has such a cool sound, at times leaning toward progressive rock, even.
Track by Track Review
God Blessed Video

This is such a cool piece of music. It's very much set in a 1980s metal sound, but it's also got an almost prog rock vibe to it. I love the sound of Vai's guitar here.

Mercy
Here is another seriously classy heavy metal tune. I love the tone of this. There is a soaring element to the vocal arrangement that's great, too. this is less 80s in sound in a lot of ways. That's because it's more timeless than that.
Will You Be Home Tonight
This isn't a metal song at all. Instead it's more of an 80s rocker. There is a bit of a blues rock edge to the cut. It has some proggy things in it, too. Bonnet really shines on the harder rocking stuff later. I'm not crazy about the first half the cut, but the later sections really work well.
Wire and Wood
Now we're back into heavy metal territory. This is screaming hot. It's rather on the raw side. There are no pretenses here. This is just scorching hot, take no prisoners rock and roll. The guitar solo, though, really brings it into a completely higher level. The melodic break down section is a nice change, too.
Desert Diamond
This is more of an epic piece. it comes in with a mellower, dramatic metal ballad approach. It grows out as the song continues, really pounding forward. This is a powerhouse tune. It's another with a good helping of progressive rock built into it. The guitar solo section on this one is purely amazing, too.
Stripper
More straight-ahead hard rocker, this one is screaming hot. It's very Krokus-like to me. It's another great tune.
Painted Lover
There is almost a hint of funk in the mix here. This has some cool proggy edges, too. Yet it's also set pretty well in an 80s metal sound.
Lighter Shade of Green
This 46 second guitar solo is so classy. It's very technical and yet grooves.
Sons and Lovers
More of a straightahead hard rock sound is the basis of this number. It's a cool no-frills kind of thing. It's more of an anthemic power ballad, really.
Skyfire
Epic metal, progressive rock and more merge here. This is very much along the lines of power metal, too. It's another killer tune.
Breaking the Heart of the City
This is rather anthemic. It's very much a power metal kind of thing. It's arrangement is rather stripped back in a lot of ways. Yet there is  rather proggy edge to it, too. The guitar solo section gets quite intense.
Bonus Tracks
                       
Will You Be Home Tonight (Anti-Drunk Driving PSA Single Edit)
There is a little spoken bit at the start here delivering the anti-drunk-driving message.
Instrumental Demos
                     

God Blessed Video

As advertised, this is an instrumental demo of the song from the main album. I really like this version. Steve Vai really gets to shine.

Wire and Wood
I'm not as crazy about this instrumental only version. The keyboards seem a bit too high in the mix to me.
Stripper
This is another that doesn't work all that well in this format. I do like the bass fills, though. It's just a bit too simplistic to really shine without the vocals.
Painted Lover
Another that's not all that great in this format, this is better than the previous one, though.
Sons and Lovers
Now, this one is much more effective in this instrumental only arrangement.
Skyfire
This one could almost stand on its own. It could use a bit more added to it, but works reasonably well like this.
Breaking the Heart of the City
I love the guitar work on this. The rest of the arrangement isn't nearly as successful.
Steve Vai Rehearsal
As you might expect, we get some exceptional guitar work on this number. It's not an unaccompanied guitar solo, though, but rather a full instrumental treatment with an emphasis on the guitar.

 

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