Masi Eternal Struggle (Lion Music, 2001) Remember back in the early 80s, how Yngwie Malmsteen was hailed as God by some for his lightning fast lead playing? But he could never write really good hard rock songs, in which to showcase his solos, and he could never find a singer who was good enough to match his playing skill to make a really solid band. So Yngwie's bands and his records had dull songs with mediocre vocals for two verses, then he'd rip some out-of-this-world solo, but then it was back to a lame third verse. Hard rock fans eventually got tired of him and went back to other bands with far less playing skill but more complete songwriting. Alex Masi is a European neoclassical shred player from the 80s who has led his self-named band for over 15 years and 9 CDs. After two albums of Bach arranged for guitar, Eternal Struggle is the first Masi band record of original hard rock tunes since 1997's The Watcher, and unfortunately Masi's neoclassical shred-rock suffers the same innate weaknesses that Yngwie's did. The music sounds like classic European hard rock, like old UFO or Scorpions, with plodding hard rock riffs and Masi's neo-classical shredding everywhere - solo breaks in the middle of songs, flashy fills during the verses, and long outro solos as the songs fade out.. The songs run a wide range of stock hard rock types, including up-tempo rockers like All I Want and the Foreigner cover Blue Morning Blue Day, grinders like Lost in the City, Wheel Rolls On, and Black Flames Allure, and of course, a sensitive ballad, Writing on the Wall. The brittle single coil guitar sound also sounds just like the classic European rock like Deep Purple that heavily influenced Yngwie, as do the raspy hard rock vocals of singer Kyle Michaels. The pipe organ arpeggios in All I Want add the only original sonic flare on the record, and their sound fits perfectly with the neoclassical vibe of Masi's music. Masi's command of hard rock songwriting cliches, especially grinding riffs like Black Flames Allure and Lost in the City, is just as solid as his command of neoclassical speed licks, but he brings nothing original to the table in either his playing or his writing. Eternal Struggle feels like a tribute record or a cover band, since this style of music and playing, at least here in America, is so far back in the past (Lion Records is based out of Finland, so maybe they still love this stuff there). Masi sounds like a solid but trite imitation from a bygone era, so Eternal Struggle is recommended for neoclassical shred freaks only. Reviewed by Scott Andrews [firstname.lastname@example.org] More Info:
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