Marty Friedman – Inferno
Prosthetic Records – 2014
Ex-MEGADETH Guitarist Mary Friedman doesn’t rest on his laurels. Instead he challenges himself by creating this explosive, multi-dimensional music offering. It’s the first album I’ve heard him play on in many years and I think his best work to date.
The title track blazes with an onslaught of Friedman’s shredding power riffs, all done with skillful finesse.
The give and take between slow, dark chord progression and heavy distortion makes “Resin” a killer tune. Some of the guitar runs are musically dangerous. The heavy licks that go along with the drumming would make the late “Dimebag” Darrell smile. The slow-down parts open up the metallic environment for palpable texture and make the heavy sections more significant.
“Wicked Panacea” is my favorite track so far in 2014. This song features Rodrigo y Gabriela providing energetic acoustic flamenco guitar that sets up an extraordinary contrasting guitar duet with Friedman’s metal attack. The softer rhythms are catapulted into megaton riffs when converted to Friedman’s charged guitar.
Friedman flexes his six-string muscle in “Steriodhead”, which features SKYHARBOR’s Keshav Dhar. The two guitarists rip a hole in the atmosphere with heavy duty riffage and beautiful soaring leads.
Rock guru Danko Jones adds the vocals to the punk-metal tune “I Can’t Relax.” The hyperactive nature of the song title is carried out musically and is done in such a way that gives it a touch a humor as well.
Norwegian Jazz musician Jørgen Munkeby’s (SHINING) tenor saxophone is unexpected and a cool addition to “Meat Hook.” Munkeby shreds on his sax, which of course Friedman is more than willing to join along with. Musical virtuosity has never been so fun as when these two let it go.
“Hyper Doom” is a little snidbit that sounds like it came out of the MEGADETH fold. Guitars engage like a locked-in gun on a moving target.
Guitar whiz David Davidson (REVOCATION) joins Friedman for “Sociopaths.” Davidson’s voice reminds me a little of Pantera’s Phil Anselmo. This is the second longest track on this album and allows the guitarists time to let the notes flow.
“Lycanthrope” features vocals from both Alexi Laiho (CHILDREN OF BODOM) & Danko Jones. This rocking song has Friedman release the hairy beast inside with guitar riffs that should make any metal listener howl with joy.
In “Undertow”, Friedman expresses himself with sorrowful guitar weeping. It’s impressive how he is able to convey his emotions through his instrument. Beautiful work, really.
I really love the idea and respect Marty Friedman for including a brand new collaboration with Jason Becker. The fact that Becker was diagnosed with ALS (a.k.a. Lou Gehrig’s disease) more than 20 years ago, didn’t’ stop Friedman from creating a new song with his CACOPHONY partner. It’s even more astounding when you think that Becker communicates with his eye movements.
I find this not only amazingly special and a unique relationship but when you listen to the music that they created together, it should blow you away. The playing is just eye-opening and jaw-dropping. Friedman says, “The song, it’s definitely CACOPHONY, and it’s definitely what Jason and I would be doing in 2014 and the future.” To make it all possible, a friend named Ewan Dobson, who is also a friend of Jason’s, played with Jason wrote and what Friedman arranged for Jason’s parts. It’s just an astounding song in every way.
The album closes with a reprise of “Inferno”, that is both shorter and gentler version of the title track.
I know that Marty Friedman will be touring the world to support Inferno. I absolutely want to see him perform this live when he comes to my town.