Power of Metal.dk Review

Tony MacAlpine
Tony MacAlpine
Style: Instrumental Guitar
Release date: 21 June, 2011
Playing time: 54:13

Despite his innumerable collaborations (Steve Vai, Billy Sheehan, Tommy Aldridge, Brian Auger…….), it’s his instrumental solo albums that Tony Macalpine is most known for. The latest such album bears his own name and comes a whole decade after its predecessor.

One of the first qualities to strike me was the heaviness of this album, due in no small part to a series of abrasive riffs and a particularly strong rhythm section. Perhaps paradoxically, it also contains TM’s most intensely emotional compositions. ‘Flowers For Monday’ springs to mind in this context. For the duration of the album, Tony Macalpine covers a vast musical soundscape - from Metal to acoustic guitar interludes; from Jazz Fusion breaks to Neo-Classical shredding to yet again other moods that all in all make the task of pidgeon-holing the album’s genre a tad ambiguous. More importantly, the music is so jaw-droppingly good that I would dare rate this release as Tony Macalpine’s best solo effort. To top it all up, the sound quality is simply excellent.

But let’s zoom in here and there…..the guitar melodies of ‘Ölüdeniz’ bridge the gap between this and TM’s early albums. Owing to their complexity ‘Fire Mountain’ and ‘Dream Mechanism’ are likely to merit repeated listens. On the other hand, album closer ‘Dedication’ is an all out Neo-Classical catharsis of emotions.

The most inspired moment, however, is ‘Ten Seconds To Mercury’ which evolves from a riff-driven intro into a Jazz Fusion piano exercise which is bridged by melodic lead guitar solos back to the opening riff which also closes the track. All this is driven forward by top-notch bass guitar and drums performances.


Tony MacAlpine: guitars, keyboards, bass, programming
Marco Minnemann
: drums on tracks 3, 4, 8 and 12
Virgil Donati
: drums on tracks 1, 5 & 10
Philip Bynoe
: bass on track 2

01. Serpens Cauda
02. Ölüdeniz
03. Fire Mountain
04. Dream Mechanism
05. Ten Seconds to Mercury
06. Flowers for Monday
07. Angel of Twilight
08. Pyrokinesis
09. Blue Maserati
10. Summer Palace
11. Salar de Uyuni
12. The Dedication
Label: Favored Nations
Reviewed by: Chris Galea
Date: 1 March, 2012
Website: www.tonymacalpine.com