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Martone: When the Aliens Come
Any fans of Vai, Malmsteen, Satriani et al out there? Well listen and weep. Dave Martone, Canada's unsung axe genius provides us with a 76 minute feast of guitar pyrotechnics in this excellent and varied album that shows just how much you can do with a few bits of steel, nylon and wood when modern technology is added. Dave is inventive on both electric and acoustic guitars and the range of styles encompass rock, metal, jazz and some experimental forays. Melody and rhythm however are always at the core.
The heavy throbbing bass lines set the dynamics for the album on the first track, with Martone's guitar sawing and scything through loops and multi-tracked acoustic guitar parts. The middle section cuts back to a mysterious set of reverberative guitar effects before returning to the thunderous bass to close.
Dave has corralled several other guitarists onto the album, featuring in the second track's cut and thrust arrangement of continual time changes. Echo effects and loops bridge us into a heavier section with spitting synths, driving bass and wild guitars. A melody emerges from this frenetic section before closing the track.
"The Four Horsemen" features synths and guitars in a sparkling arrangement underpinned by a plodding, deliberate rhythm. The piece features quieter sections to break up the pace but the main theme returns from time to time.
The next track is a scaling multi-instrumental arrangement. Tension and build are the tools here as the album climaxes and then spreads out like a delta before repeating the twin motifs that start the track off. Suddenly it plunges into a death metal rap before the brilliant guitar lines resurface.
The style changes to a more ethnic organic feel with acoustic guitar and hand drums on track five whilst track six by contrast is a bit of an animal. Prog-metal in the style of bands like Van den Plas with a touch of Liquid Tension Experiment and Petrucci. The piece is broken up by solos, aggressive synth sorties intermingling with a fiery blend of fuzzed and distorted guitars.
"Fung Yao", which follows, is a complete change of pace with Dave and co taking up acoustic guitars with a typical 'Fripp/League of Crafty Guitarists' approach.
The rest of the album continues this engaging variety with some of the other highlights being the percussive guitars in Tracks 9 and 10, the funky "Maneemanaw" and the classical thematic cover in "Techno-Bees" which ends up with some of the finest shredding on the album.
After listening to this breathtaking display, you have to wonder why Martone does not attract the same attention as Malmsteen, Satriani , etc. Is it because he is just a bit too brave with his willingness to experiment and cram such a variety of effects and developments even within the same short composition?
01. Starz Scarz
02. Flatulation Farm
03. The Four Horsemen
04. Really Now!
05. Mike Crow's Mailbox of Doom!
06. Fumble Fingers
07. Pung Yao
09. O My God I'm Swelling!
10. Double FF's
12. Techno Bee'z
13. When the Aliens Come
Added: March 12th 2007
Reviewer: Richard Barnes
Related Link: Lion Music
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