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Masi, Alex: Attack of the Neon Shark

Lion Music has recently released most of the Alex Masi back catalog that was formerly on Metal Blade Records. Attack of the Neon Shark was the first record that got the guitarist noticed here in the US back in 1989, as instrumental neo-classical metal was riding high at the time thanks to Yngwie Malmsteen, Tony MacAlpine, Vinnie Moore, and David Chastain. While this CD is noteworthy for Masi's impeccable chops, it is obvious that he was lacking a bit in the songwriting department as compared to his peers. There are a few surprises though...

For one, the blistering opening track, "Under Fire", features a fantastic vocal performance from Jeff Scott Soto, fresh from his stint with Malmsteen. The singers powerful voice coupled with Masi's metal licks give this song a catchy, rock-anthem sound. Japanese guitar hero Kuni also trades lethal solos with Masi on this one, turning the song into a super group of 80's metal (Quiet Riot's Frankie Banali plays drums on the whole album.) Aside from this strong vocal piece, the rest of the tracks are standard neo-classical fare, with Masi's guitar solos leading the way over generic sounding song structures. One exception is the Satriani-ish "Wasted in the West", a shuffling boogie-fest that also lets Masi display some truly amazing sweep picking techniques.

I'd be remiss to mention that guitar legend Allan Holdsworth put in a guest appearance on synth-axe on the track "Cold Sun", which lends the tune a very fusion oriented vibe before Masi comes rampaging in at the closing section with some monster shredding. The guitarist also covers the classic "Toccata", which is the most fun of all the instrumental pieces on the album. On later releases Masi would refine his writing skills to greater success, and while Attack of the Neon Shark is spotty, there are still plenty of moments where he shows his six-string talents and pulls off some neat melodies.

Added: May 11th 2002
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Lion Music
Hits: 2936
Language: english

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