Sometimes an album comes across my desk that makes me forget everything else that I am doing. It doesn't happen very often after all the music that I have digested but when it does there is little doubt we have something special. Such is the case with this surprising effort by one of the great guitarists of our time; George Lynch. While you might blow it off and say here is yet another attempt to electrify classical music, you would be very, very wrong. Instead of taking the Malmsteen approach, Lynch uses the classics and a few modern day works as the background for his interpretation of the music. Most of the songs on here are unrecognizable except for an intro to let you know what it is and some brief moments here and there that remind you of what song he is reworking to make it something of his very own.
I have to think that he approached this with the thought in mind, what would I have done if I wrote this music myself. With each song on here there is a sense of that as he takes such work as "Fur Elise" and turns it into a glorious bit of guitar magic. It is one of my wife's favorite songs and she could not recognize it as George's use of the original melody is very subtle and only acts as the catalyst for the extraordinary guitar compositions that Lynch has devised.
With many of the songs on here he uses the familiar melody as an intro and then unleashes his shredding ability upon those who are fortunate enough to get their hands on this disc. His unique way of Lynching this collection has to go down as one of the best crossover discs you will hear. The way that he brings some of most powerful music ever created into the modern era is a treat that will bear many repeat trips to the CD player. The way he handles "Carmina Burana", "William Tell Overture" and "Clair de Lune" are magnificent examples how classical music and metal are really not that far apart. Lynch blends them into a tasty musical stew where each morsel should be savored time and time again.
He also revamps a few newer pieces. The Verve Pipe's "Bittersweet Symphony" gets testosterone filled electrification with some very superior guitar mayhem from Lynch. He then takes on two of Trans Siberian Orchestra's most beloved staples. "Wizards In Winter" and "Christmas Eve/ Sarajevo 12/24" to new heights with his abilities. This pair of songs is the most recognizable on the disc with most of them still intact but he does inject some serious metal moments into both. It almost sounds like he was auditioning for TSO and these were the demos of what he might bring to the table as they are the only examples of him playing over or in conjunction with the original melody. Still, the moment he sets fingers to the fretboard everything seems to stop and all senses become attuned to the sound emanating from the speakers, not only on these songs but the whole album.
This one kind of took me by surprise as I was one of those that underestimated the skill of Mr. Lynch. In both his playing and his composition ability he has surpassed anything that he has ever done before. This one is an easy add to the best of 2010 and will never stray far from where I can easily hear it. As good as he has been in the past, this one cements his place in the hall of the guitar gods! The sense of melody he has is as good anyone. He can dazzle you with fretboard magic that rivals all the names that have been placed on guitar pedestals such as Vai, Malmsteen, Petrucci and Satriani. He does so in a way that never sounds like he is just showing off his prowess either. Lynch manages to grab and hold your attention simply because he pays more consideration to the melody than showing off how fast he can run the fretboard. George has come up with a dazzler here and I am going to finish this so that I can go throw the headphones on for another listen to Mr. Scary!
1. Bittersweet Symphony
2. Fur Elise
3. Carmina Burana
4. Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, 1st Movement
6. Venetian Boat Song
7. Prelude in G Minor
8. William Tell Overture
9. The Waltz of the Flowers
10. Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, 4th Movement
11. Clair de Lune
12. Wizards In Winter
13. Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24