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Vinnie Moore: Defying Gravity
2001, Shrapnel Records

For those of you that had thought that Vinnie Moore was a historical footnote in the neoclassical 
movement in the 1980s, you had better take another look. Defying Gravity is Vinnie Moore's 
strongest effort to date as Vinnie has pumped out his second serious neoclassical effort in as 
many years. And when you do pick up Defying Gravity, be prepared for a new Vinnie 
Moore. Vinnie's playing and style have changed vastly, though there are some remnants of his 
1980s style. Vinnie has brought in a lot more feeling, a little looser timing that lends more 
fluidity and grace to the music (you may not be able to calibrate your metronome by it any 
longer), and some really nice aggression! ;) For those of you who have already heard The 
Maze, Defying Gravity picks up right where The Maze left off and even 
kicks it up a notch or two.

There are a number of stand outs on this effort. The title track, "Defying Gravity" sets the scene 
for what Vinnie has in store for us with some very accessible themes, speedy guitar work, and 
relentless drive. The Spanish-flavored, acoustic masterpiece "Last Road Home" is one of 
Vinnie's best compositions to date and rivals any acoustic composition classical or neoclassical. 
The inspiring "Alexander The Great" will instill bravery in the heart of the meekest soul with its 
empowering themes and emotional content. This epic composition will lend you the heart to 
cross the Granicus River on your trusty mount, Bucephalas, with your cavalry behind you, and to 
then face the Persian army of Darius that outnumbers you ten to one. And, you will know that 
you are going to be victorious despite the odds. "Awaken The Madman" steps up the pace an 
intensity with a gallup down the homestretch to the finish line with some very aggressive and 
speedy themes! . The all out stampede and cavalcade is complete with a slow-motion victory 
gallup and fanfare section packed full of well-felt melodies that balance the driving, shredding-
fast maniacal theme. "Awaken The Madman" is slightly reminiscent to me of Greg Howe's 
"Maniacal", at least in concept, but probably also in emotional content. You will be pleasantly 
surprised on this one, I'm sure.

My favorite and the final track, "Between Then And Now", is a bittersweet, melodic, savory, 
little ballade that demonstrates a depth and feeling that will squeeze your heart through your 
throat and that many in the past have said that Vinnie lacks. But Vinnie Moore has set the record 
straight this time around and there is no question about his depth and feeling any longer. The 
maturity that has evolved in his playing, style, feel, and composition will make you realize that 
you need to reevaluate what you thought Vinnie Moore was all about. Once again, as in The 
Maze, Vinnie demonstrates that he has grown to more depth than his original efforts in the 
1980s. It is good to see guitarists / musicians / artists pushing forward, rather than just trying to 
maintain ground. And, my hat is off to you Vinnie Moore for reinventing yourself when many 
people were saying that you were through! I think we can no! longer call Vinnie's style "Bach 
Rock". It has become broader in scope than that now.

Defying Gravity is worth checking out, especially if you liked The Maze. 
Defying Gravity is among my favorite neoclassical albums. If you are a neoclassical fan 
or liked Vinnie Moore's neoclassical efforts back in the 1980s, you need to check this one out. 
Defying Gravity contains some of the best neoclassical music that has ever been 
recorded. Give it a shot! This definitely is not the Vinnie Moore you remember from the 1980s... 
this one is better.

Guitars Vinnie Moore 
Bass Dave LaRue 
Keyboards David Rosenthal 
Drums Steve Smith 

1) Defying Gravity 
2) Out And Beyond 
3) Last Road Home 
4) Alexander The Great 
5) The Voice Within 
6) If I Could 
7) House With A Thousand Rooms 
8) Awaken The Madman 
9) In The Blink Of An Eye 
10) Equinox 
11) Emotion Overload 
12) Between Then And Now 

~ Christopher Ruel ~ ~

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Vinnie Moore: The Maze 1999, Shrapnel Records CyberHome: For those of you who had written Vinnie Moore off and had forgotten about him, he is back with a vengeance. The epic, title track to The Maze is his best effort to date. Vinnie has teamed up with his old collaborator, Tony MacAlpine, to break the "Bach Rock" stereotype by broadening his scope of style and composition with the collection of diverse tracks he has arranged on The Maze. And, for those who thought Vinnie was a little too strict with his time, he does not sound like he is playing along with a metronome on this one. This is a different Vinnie Moore that has brought along with him all of the things that you liked when he first came out with Mind's Eye and Time Odyssey, but has now addressed some of the areas that he had been criticized. There seems to be a growth in his playing that brings more aggression, feel, fluidity, and drive - more life and personality. There has also been a growth in Vinnie's style that has incorporated elements outside of traditional classical and neoclassical that are from other genres and styles of music that Vinnie has explored in the ten year interim that he ventured from the neoclassical format. The music is more well-rounded and diverse because of these new influences. "The Maze" opens up the day of racing and gallups wire to wire for the distance (8:39) with an all out, relentlessly driving shred-fest complete with well-felt melodies, divergent themes and variations, and all of the classical structuring and sequencing that you would expect from Vinnie Moore. "King Of Kings" follows with its inspirational themes, speedy fretwork, and uplifting arrangements. Another highlight of this CD is "Never Been To Barcelona" a lively, Spanish- sounding, acoustic masterpiece that has merit on its own as a straight classical composition. The complexity and accessibility of "Never Been To Barcelona" are very impressive, as is the proficiency and cleanness that Vinnie pulls it off. And, the themes and thematic development are just beautiful... comparable to Sor, Segovia, Parkening,... World Class. "The Thinking Machine" is another track that showcases some involved thematic development built around complex guitar pattern sequencing and Vinnie's ability to deliver satisfying melodies and themes right when they are appropriate. And, "Eye Of The Beholder" is another track built in the neoclassical format that showcases Vinnies prowess as an axeman and a composer. I didn't feel as though the entire CD kept up the pace set by the title track, "The Maze", which has set a new standard for Vinnie Moore. But, the effort is a solid one and I was very pleased to see Vinnie Moore back in the neoclassical arena with an effort that is sure to re-establish him there. It is worth getting The Maze just for the title track and "Never Been To Barcelona". But, if you are a neoclassical fan, you will find other tracks that are enjoyable as well. If you were once a neoclassical fan but have moved on to other genres now, you should check out The Maze just to see how Vinnie Moore has evolved. And, don't bring your preconceptions with you, because you are in for a few surprises. Guitars Vinnie Moore Bass Dave LaRue Keyboards Tony MacAlpine Drums Shane Gaalaas 1) The Maze 2) King Of Kings 3) Cryptic Dreams 4) Never Been To Barcelona 5) Watching From The Light 6) The Thinking Machine 7) Eye Of The Beholder 8) Rain 9) In The Healing Garden 10) Fear And Trepidation Listen to samples & Buy CDs/DVDs here

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