Moore, Vai, Satriani, John5. We've all heard them before. But what makes an instrumental heavy metal guitar shredder album interesting is the heart, soul and passion put forth by the musician.
Italian guitar virtuoso Alex Masi first broke out with his band of the same name in 1987 with Fire in the Rain, but it was 1988s Downtown Dreamer that garnered Masi some MTV attention with the song/video "God Promised A Paradise."
Masi has a vibrato playing style with a vibrant tone, and uses different styles and elements to express himself. There are similarities to all the above guitarists. If you put on each of these shredders one after another, would you be able to distinguish between them? Perhaps, but only to the trained ear. But Masi's conglomeration of styles: metal, fusion, progressive, funk, classical and Middle Eastern, give the guitarist a distinct sound compared to his contemporaries. He's not as well known in North America as the aforementioned shredders, but he can definitely hold his own with the axe.
But the thing about Masi is, he's a multi-talented musician. He handled every instrument, as well as wrote, recorded, mixed and produced Theory of Everything. He utilized technology techniques with the use of new software, samples and loops to create the album.
The eclectic mix of styles on "Theory of Nothing," "Big Bad Science" and "Queen of Headfuck" are really diverse and interesting. The funky Latin rhythms on "Have a Talk with God" sound like a modern age porno soundtrack. And I mean this in a good way. "Ladies of the House" displays his Middle Eastern flair with a distorted riff.
The album as a whole is something you'll be able to digest without being confused or bored. You won't get lost in guitar wankery because there are so many different and interesting styles to enjoy.