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Impellitteri: Pedal to the Metal

There is a difference between diversity and identity. Diversity is about the growth a band shows in their musical evolution without forgetting who they are and where they are coming from. It's about progressing, moving forward and adding new ideas to your music without distorting the classic sound of your band. However, when too many 'influences' work their way into your compositions, you may end up in an identity crisis and some fans may question the validity of your work.

Impellitteri is a very good band. Their earlier albums with Rob Rock and Graham Bonnet remain as classics in their genres and I still play them on a regular basis. Pedal to the Metal, their new one, however, is a tad too mixed. It does have some of the classical Impellitteri stuff marked by great neoclassical guitar runs, fierce drum and bass combination and powerful vocals and is perfectly exemplified on the closing track "The Writing's on the Wall" featuring classical piano in its breakdown and awesome Malmsteen-like guitars. There are also satisfying works of power metal in the forms of "Dance with the Devil" and "Judgement Day" with slow guitars in the beginning giving way to speedy double drum bass and dark guitar riffs backing Curtis Skelton's singing. Sadly though, Skelton tends to over-scream on songs like "The Iceman Cometh" or sounds more like Layne Staley than himself on the Sabbath-y "Hurricane" marked by heavy riffing and solid lyrics.

The more modern songs are what prevent this album from rocking as hard as most of its predecessors. The two-minute "Crushing Daze" is the band's attempt at going more 'commercial' as it displays meaningless down-tuned guitars and mixes them up with weird, inappropriate processed vocals. "Punk", another song I detest, is obviously meant to be funny and a song written to ridicule the current state of the music business. However, it is very irritating to hear the singer doing rap-ish vocals and, aside from Chris' guitar solo, it is hard to tell the difference between this one and a Linkin Park track. I simply don't like to see all those amazing bands treading 'new' musical territory in the name of progression. The band continues to experiment with modern style songwriting on "Propaganda Mind", a song with numerous Linkin Park references except for the uplifting guitar solo. That said, Chris Impellitteri's guitar playing doesn't come close to his earlier stuff either. His tone is screechy in places ("Destruction") and the solos are more simplistic than his work with Rob Rock. Apparently he wanted to mix old with new and see what happens - hopefully he'll go back to doing what he can do best on the next album.

Track Listing

  1. The Iceman Cometh
  2. The Kingdom of Titus
  3. Dance with the Devil
  4. Hurricane
  5. Crushing Daze
  6. Destruction
  7. Judgement Day
  8. Punk
  9. Propaganda Mind
  10. The Writing's on the Wall

Added: May 14th 2005
Reviewer: Murat Batmaz
Related Link: Impellitteri
Hits: 3524
Language: english

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