Ray DeTone Strange World (Dancetone Music, 2001) New York City guitarist, songwriter and producer Ray DeTone has played with Paul Di'Anno's Killers, Steve Morse Band drummer Van Romaine, and Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow, among others. His previous solo CDs, WHo CAReS... and Once More...With FEELING!!!, have been licensed in Japan, and featured on the instrumental guitar website/store guitar9.com and on the Instrumental Metal Chart on mp3.com. Strange World, his third solo CD, also includes vocalist Ric Prince from WHo CAReS.... The music on Strange World includes about a third guitar rock tunes with vocals and two-thirds guitar instrumentals, including a cover of Aaron Copland's "Hoedown." The sluggish intro track "Gateway," two minutes of guitar solo and dual harmony lead doodling with whammy bar tricks, moves into the upbeat title track with a dull industrial drum loop that gives way to driving guitar rock. The CD would have had more impact starting directly with this song and foregoing the first track and the drum loop. In "Hoedown," DeTone shows off his neo-classical slide with the original twist of playing a 20th century American piece instead of the Bach or Paginnini usually playing by shred guitarists, even though "Hoedown" has been played recently by other rock bands like the Flecktones. As usual for any shred cover of a classical piece, the signature melody gives way to wild guitar solos that barely retain the feel of the original composition. "Miles Deep" swings with more fast guitar and a horn section, and "The Axe Swings" shows off Brian Setzer type rockabilly chops over upright bass and a static programmed drumbeat. The mellow "Street Urchin Symphony," with singing leads over acoustic guitar arpeggios, brings Strange World to a solid close. DeTone nimbly covers lead guitar pyrotechnics, with plenty of neo-classical style riffs and arpeggios in his rock tunes such as "Hard Ride." The lyrics are bland rock fare, particularly "Untold" and "Suck Off," but all the vocal tunes clock in concisely at under four minutes each. DeTone spends plenty of time overall on guitar solos, but most of them don't drag on too long like many shred players. He also plays most of the bass on the record, a solid performance without flaws, but his drum programming in several tracks sounds amateurish and in others blandly holds the rhythmic foundation together. The bright acoustic instrumental "King's Court" moves through a slower section and a fast jig, and DeTone handles the acoustic guitar adeptly. The production sounds professional, but the grinding guitar tone rings a bit flat in the mix. Ray DeTone's Strange World is reasonably clever rock/shred guitar, with a good balance between melodic phrasing and crazy guitar solos, and stylistic variety in the songwriting although without a great deal of originality. DeTone's web site notes that MTV licensed two of the vocal tunes and two of the instrumentals off Strange World as background music for scenes in their B-grade TV show "Undressed." The music on Strange World seems ideally suited to this -- well executed, driving guitar rock with vocals and without, that sets a rocking mood but doesn't seem to delve much deeper. Reviewed by Scott Andrews [firstname.lastname@example.org] More Info:
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