Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Best Guitar Cds of the Week - Week of 09/13/2011

Dream Theater - A Dramatic Turn of Events
   Prog-Metal fans rejoice as the first music from the "new" version of Dream Theater officialy hits the streets. Even us guitar crazy John Petrucci fans know that in the drum throne,Mike Portnoy is out and Mike Mangini is in. We make light of drummers around here at Guitar Omniovore (after all,they're drummers) but honestly,the guy steering the ship is a wee bit important. He is especially important if you're playing music that has multiple time and tempo changes. Being one of the best drummers in the business,able to inject some feeling into a genre sometimes accused of being stiff,Portnoy left big shoes to fill. I'm happy to report Mangini seems to fit right in. Musically,this album has a bit of a "back to basics" feel,basics for Dream Theater being not so basic. Perhaps "back to classic Dream Theater" might be a better way to put it.         
Songs are tight and focused,a bit less prog and a tad more metal in their prog/metal equation. Although with several songs over the ten minute mark,these aren't exactly pop songs,it's cool to hear them mix it up a bit after the very long compositions on Black Clouds and Silver Linings. Petrucci,is as usual,in fine form,using what sounds like his usual Ernie Ball/Mesa Boogie rig for a big,heavy sound. There seems to be more of keyboardist Jordan Rudes in the mix this time around but it doesn't detract from the guitar at all. Loosing someone as talented and important to the band as Mike Portnoy couldn't have been easy but it sounds to me like Dream Theater will still be around for plenty more years.

Lots of great music,new and old this week!

Jimi Hendrix - Live at Winterland (5 Cd Box) Amazon Exclusive
   While I'm not a fan of when record companies get sneaky and offer "exclusives" allowing a release only at a single  retailer,for Jimi,you have to just have to go with it. While often bootlegged,this offers a surprising amount of stuff I hadn't heard before. Recorded over six shows at Winterland,there is some stellar music here. While it is available in a single disc format,Jimi's music just doesn't lend itself to going small. With Hendrix,every take is different. It's cool to hear Jack Casady sit in on the Howlin' Wolf classic Killing Floor and Buddy Miles takes over the drum chair for Traffic's Dear Mr. Fantasy.

Jimi Hendrix - In The West
   Originally released in 1972,In The West is one of the better regarded posthumous releases. In addition to containing what many Hendrix fans feel is the best ever version of  Red House,this expanded reissue offers five bonus songs not on the original album. Bonus points to Sony/Legacy for using the original cover art! Happy days (and lighter wallets) for the Jimi Hendrix fan!

Levin Torn White - Levin Torn White
   Sounding at times,exactly like the King Crimson/Yes hybrid you would expect,this is also very different. At times far noisier than anything Yes ever laid down,it also contains just the atmosphere and texture one wants from David Torn. This should please fans of all three musicians.

Anthrax - Worhip Music
   Anthrax had another good album in them? Who knew? Like the rest of the "Big 4",this isn't quite as good as the old days,but man,does it sound good. Joey Belladonna is truly the key to classic Anthrax and the not so new "new guy" Rob Caggiano fits right in. With Slayer and Megadeth still putting out quality metal...three out four ain't bad.

Paul Desmond - Audrey
  Billed on the cover as "Paul Desmond's Canadian Quartet" that's good news for guitar fans because that means guitarist Ed Bickert! Yea! That Desmond guys pretty good too.

Primus - Green Naugahide
   If you're like me and haven't been paying too much attention,you may be surprised to note that it's been about 12 years since the last Primus album. Musically,nothing much has changed in Primus world (unless you pay attention to drummers) and that's a good thing.

Wolves in the Throne Room - Celestial Lineage
   Yet another band from the Pacific Northwest that is really doing things right. American Black Metal that knows it's history and knows when to disregard it. Long, dark songs,interspersed with a couple of short instrumental pieces,this should be on my "years best metal" list for sure.

UFO - Chrysalis Years 1973-1979
  All six of the prime era UFO albums,along with singles,B-sides and live rarities all crammed onto 5 Cds for a bargain price. You can't go wrong here.

Muddy Waters - After the Rain
  While the controversial Electric Mud album understandably gets some attention,this followup is equally deserving and arguably,even better. Fantastic guitar from Phil Upchurch and Pete Cosey!

Barney Kessel - To Swing or Not to Swing
   The 1991 OJC domestic issue of this is still around and not too hard to find but if you don't have this essential Kessel in your collection yet or collect imports,consider picking this up.

Arch/Matheos - Sympathetic Resonance
   This is welcome new music from two old partners. With respect to Ray Alder,the first three Fates Warning albums with John Arch have always been my favorites. With the long awaited follow up to FWX due in 2012,apparently I'll get to enjoy new music from both!

Edguy - Age of the Joker
   Germany's Edguy
you like your power metal a bit on the lighter side,give them a listen.

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