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Stump, Joe: Diabolical Ferocity

Having the confidence to step into shoes once worn by both Yngwie Malmsteen and Steve Vai suggests either supreme over-confidence, or the ability to wield a six-string axe like few others can. Thankfully the current guitar incumbent in Alcatrazz (let’s leave that band’s current situation for another day, shall we?), Joe Stump, falls firmly into the latter category, this fret-melter coming from an age of shredders that almost seems to have died out. Here on Diabolical Ferocity - even the album title simply refuses to be understated - Stump is in full force and that means, aided and abetted by drummer and occasional keyboard contributor Francisco Paloma, that this album is all about three thing - guitars, guitars and more guitars! And no bloody wonder. I mean, when you can play like this man does, why wouldn’t you want to make sure as many people as possible know all about it? And of course, the best home for this attack these days is Lion Music, so it’s no surprise that the pair have once again teamed up for some scintillating guitar shenanigans.

“Ignition” starts this fully instrumental baby up, a short neo-classical burst that starts out acoustic and ends with a flurry of notes tumbling from the speakers, before quickly giving way to the Blackmore on fast forward of “Burn It Down”, which is ablaze with such force that cinders are left in its wake. From there “King Of The Underworld”, while opening as a near companion piece to what has come before, then calms into a superb demonstration of touch and tone as Stump proves that not only can his fingers move at a dizzying speed but they can also make his guitar bleed with emotion - while the church organ interlude from Paloma is also a welcome, unexpected aside.

There’s no real prizes for guessing the inspiration behind the short “Nacht JS Bach”, while “Die By The Sword” takes a similar starting point and adds more drama and dynamics into the mix. However, for me, there are two real standout moments on this album, the first coming in the shape of “The Snake Charmer’s Fate” and its Eastern flavours. Whereas the second is slightly more unexpected, the near eight minute homage to the much missed Gary Moore, titled “Forever Moore”, taking a host of that legendary guitar master’s most memorable licks and solos and weaving them together into what really is a wonderful tribute. That said, neither “Viking Pillage” or “Maximum Damage” fall far behind on an album that never really dips.

Yeah, OK, shred albums aren’t for everyone, I get that. However, when the musician utilising that approach also knows how to construct captivating musical constructions, then the results are all the more impressive. Joe Stump is one of those musicians and his Diabolical Ferocity is one hell of an album.

Track Listing
1. Ignition

2. Burn It Down

3. King Of The Underworld

4. The Snake Charmer's Fate

5. Nacht J.S. Bach

6. Sneak Attack

7. Die By The Sword

8. Viking Pillage

9. Maximum Damage

10. Forever Moore

Added: October 9th 2021
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Lion Music
Hits: 1022
Language: english

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