TOSHI ISEDA - Guitar shred master - riffage surplus here - " aka Eclectic Earwig Reviews Music and More for You!"
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Toshi Iseda: Full On!
1998, Over The Top Records, OTT1-7412

There are so many guitarists that can shred and so few who can make quality music doing it. Toshi Iseda is one of the few. What I appreciate most about Iseda, is that his music is centered on thematic development with relentless persistence. This focus gives Iseda's music life and a direction to travel while it is living. And, that direction aspires to reach the stars before life fades into the evening sky. All that I can say when I hear what Iseda has done with the vast array of advanced technique that he has mastered, is "WOW". It is not that it is impressive that he mastered so much advanced, progressive guitar technique as many guitarists aspire, try, and some achieve, but it is remarkable that Iseda is able to apply this technique with superb effect in his carefully crafted arrangements.

Now, if you don't believe all of this coming from me, you should take a look at who Iseda's talent attracted to his lineup for this album. With names like Tony MacAlpine, Michael Angelo, and Mike Terrana on the credits for support on some tracks, you'd better believe that Toshi can tear it up and shred! And, what is really cool about Toshi's custom brand of shred, is that he has always got one ear on the theme even when he is setting his fretboard on fire with his blazing traversals. In this regard, his style is reminiscent of the pre-fusion Greg Howe progressive metal. But, Iseda's influences are not limited to any one artist and he spans a wide range of influences that he has digested and fused with his own musical vision to produce the dazzling musical style that he parades on this effort. The MacAlpine, Angelo, Vai, and Friedman influences are all discernable among flashes of a host of others. But, the influences are not what is really significant about Iseda's style and music. What is significant is that he can put it all together in a comprehensive and coherent manner that drives his musical vision into the listener's psyche.

So, fans of the shred school of instrumental rock, listen up! Toshi Iseda's the genuine article and he is here to put a pulse back into your complacent hearts. This album achieves what many guitar-centric, instrumental progressive efforts before it were aimed at accomplishing but came up short. Iseda pulls of heroic guitar feats while having the composure to put his epic fretboard frenzy into a tasty format for his listeners to feast on. This guy does it all... ripping scales, mesmerizing, melodic tap-ons, spine-tingling 24th fret sweeps, evil synchronized runs in odd relative intervals, and more creative uses of progressive guitar techniques than you can shake your whammy at! Considering the tracks with MacAlpine and Angelo, Iseda's playing is of such a high caliber that it is not easily distinguishable without a conscious effort to discern which of the three is playing. So, that should give some indication of his skill.

On the scale of "into it", Toshi gets two thumbs up for breathing new life into progressive, guitar-slinging, instrumental rock / shred. Rare is it that a musician single-handedly revives a genre by challenging the very standards the genre is measured. Quality job Toshi! So, what are you waiting for? Get to work on the next one! (... and send it along for review when you do)

Toshi Iseda Guitars, Bass, Keyboards
Andy West Bass
Craig Quinn Kasin Drums
Kit Berman Drums
Tony MacAlpine Guest Guitar
Michael Angelo Guest Guitar
Michael Terrana Guest Drums
1) Tokushima
2) Full On!
3) If I Were King
4) Custer's Last Groove
5) Prelude to a Kiss
6) The Sheltering Sky
7) 92 in the Shade
8) Angels Masquerading as People
9) Affair with a Stranger
10) Predator
11) High Noon
12) Crimson Tides
13) Maryjane Rottencrotch
14) After the Fix
15) Krackhead

~ Christopher Ruel ~ ~ ~ October 2003 Editor's note: We discovered Toshi ripping it op quite nicely on Andy West's RAMA: RAMA ONE release. He smokes y'all!





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