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This is what shred guitar is all about: an ostentatious exhibition of spectacular guitar skills
through amazing songwriting. 'Jason Becker', only 19 years old (!) at the time of this album,
proved to be not only an amazing guitar virtuoso but also a sophisticated songwriter.
'Niccolò Paganini', the classic Italian composer, probably left a serious amount of
influence over Becker. I could easily imagine most of this album being recorded
without guitar/bass/drums, but with violins instead and end up sounding like a
classical piece from the 18th century.
The production of this album is just great. The electric guitars have a crunchy, bright and
heavy tone which suits Becker fast arpeggios and heavy riffs flawlessly. At the drums
department we have 'Atma Anur' (also collaborated with 'Tony MacAlpine' and Becker
former group 'Cacophony') playing some fluid and heavy patterns that provides a solid
rhythm for the guitars. There are also some synth parts played by Becker which have
quite atmospheric tone and strengthen the melodic sense of this album.
The album opening track 'Altitudes', begins with tranquil synth choirs, followed by a
moderate lead guitar that welcome us to one of the most adventurous instrumental
albums ever made. Suddenly comes in some beautiful relaxing clean guitars with a
very melodic theme, and then...kaboom! The electric guitars explodes in with breathtaking
arpeggios alongside vibraphone type of sound in a majestic melody that creates
an exciting harmony. From that moment, I realised that Jason Becker is one of a kind.
'Temple Of The Absurd' is an extravaganza of neoclassical shred featuring 'Marty Friedman'
doing some lead guitar, quite a catchy track. The title track is probably one of Becker most
famous songs, featuring highly technical sweep pickings and dueling lead guitars section
in a continuous fast tempo that will explode your ears.
Each song in this album has it's own character (which is quite uncommon in shred albums)
and each one is truly a highlight. One of my personal favorites here is 'Air' which has no
electric guitars at all. It open with a mysterious synth introduction and followed by some
bright dueling clean guitars. There are many beautiful interludes as the song progress and
as I sayed earlier, I could easily imagine this pieced played by violins and being composed
in the 18th century.
'Perpetual Burn' is a must have for neoclassical metal fans, guitar players and instrumental
music fonders. It takes several listenings to fully appreciate this original and complex album,
which is without a doubt a milestone in the shred era.