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An American Shredder In Japan - 76%

Erdrickgr, January 2nd, 2008

While it's a bit too sedate in spots, overall this is pretty enjoyable stuff. The interesting thing about this album as it relates to metal is that Marty released this record in 1992. Much has been said about what effect Marty had on Megadeth in the late 90's, and this album only adds fuel to the fire. On one hand, it shows that Marty really was interested in softer stuff years ago, and may have brought a bit too much of that soft and commercial touch to Megadeth's music. On the other hand, if this album was out in 1992, no one (especially Mustaine) could have complained as though Marty suddenly changed and went soft in the late 90's. Friedman obviously liked exploring his melodic side all along.

But back to Scenes. On an album like this, the centerpiece is obviously going to be the guitar playing, and Friedman puts in some solid work. Friedman's Japanese-influenced, melodic guitar playing is always on the mark technically, and sometimes rises to heights of beauty. The main problem is that the middle part of the album (Night, Realm of the Senses, West) gets bogged down with a few slow, uninspired cuts. The musicianship is still solid, the songs are just boring. Apart from those three average songs, though, this album is a great listen. Sometimes (e.g. on Angel) Friedman even starts to bust into things that are simultaneously more melodic and more rocking than anything on an album like Risk. In a sea of acoustic guitars and soothing melodies, some of the electric guitar solos on this album add a really impressive punctuation mark.

The drums are handled by Nick Menza, though they aren't heard too often. A bass doesn't do a lot, but it supports the music and adequately provides a founation for it. Synthesizers are used, with varying degrees of success. When used as background noise or to accentuate a guitar melody, they can be quite effective. But sometimes Friedman has them come to the front, at which times they tend to detract from the songs. Thankfully this is kept to a minimum.

This CD is only 40 minutes, and three of the songs are average, but I'm still recommending this CD. Songs like Valley of Eternity, Angel, and Trance are more than enough to make up for whatever deficiencies there might be on the album.