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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Vinnie Moore

Soul Shifter

Review by Gary Hill

Vinnie Moore is probably best known for his work in the band Thin Lizzy. He's also played with Alice Cooper and is in the Lizzy spin-off band Red Zone Rider. This new solo album features a collection of instrumental pieces. Each of them (as you would expect) features exceptional guitar work. The music here ranges from rock sounds to fusion and even proggy territory. It never feels tired or repetitive and works well from start to finish. That's rather impressive for a purely instrumental set.

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Track by Track Review
Funk Bone Jam
The opening cut powers in with some killer funky blues rock. This is a smoking hot groove. The guitar soloing is so tasty. It's also extensive and expansive. There is some killer funk bass jamming, too.
Same Sun Shines
This tune loses the funk but not the intensity. The style is still thoroughly in place, too. The guitar work can get pretty shredding, but this is more of a proggy number with an emphasis on the melodic in some ways. I suppose I'd call this fusion more than anything else.
Kung Fu Grip
There is some funk back into this number. It's a screaming hot rocker that is arguably more intense than either of its two predecessors. It also manages to groove like crazy. There is a tastefully retro bit of kitsch in some of the sounds on this piece. Yet the guitar work is never compromised to get it.
This one starts quite mellow. It grows out into a cool fusion-like jam that is particularly tasty. While it's more sedate than some of the others, that doesn't mean it's lost any of its passion and style. The guitar soloing is particularly expressive.
Brother Carlos
Here we get more smoking hot, hard rock based instrumental work. This is on fire. It's another killer number on a disc that's full of great tunes.
Gainesville Station
As you might guess from the title, there is a healthy helping of Southern rock in the mix on this tune. It's quite a blues-based stomper, too. This is high energy, fun and really rocks. There is a killer section with dueling piano and guitar soloing, too.
Soul Rider
Acoustic guitar chording brings this into being, and tasteful guitar solos over the top of it. This piece remains a bit more sedate than some of the rest and has a real 70s rock vibe to it. Just because it's mellower and more melodic doesn't mean that there isn't killer guitar soloing, though. It's all over this thing.
Killer bluesy rocking music is the concept here. That said, this leans toward fusion and even prog rock at times. As you might imagine, it features killer guitar soloing.
Heard You Were Gone
There is a real classic rock vibe on this powerful number. It has some great guitar soloing, but you knew that. It also leans toward fusion at times. This is quite melodic and turns downright dreamy late.
Across the Ages
The whole album has featured amazing guitar work, but this one might have some of the most incendiary playing here. It's a harder rocking, bluesy jam. The guitar work just steals the show on the tune. That makes this such a great choice for closing number.


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