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Marty Friedman - Scenes CD (album) cover


Marty Friedman

Progressive Metal

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4 stars A brand new Scene...

One of my favorite guitarists returns with another shred storm...

Or not, this album is more experimental than his debut album, by far. Where Dragon's Kiss was a solid straight forward instrumental metal album, this begins with a very soft and atmospheric track entitled "Tibet" And like the name, quite a few eastern and world influences are apparent within the mix. Angel lets loose the guitar playing, yet it holds an air of majesty and restraint not normally seen within the instrumental guitar genre. There are some frenetic solo sections, but they don't overload the song, instead the focus is put to creating a cohesive atmosphere and melodic structure.

Valley of Eternity feels like Forbidden City from the previous release, and that is a compliment. Well, this one focuses much more on the surreal textures and crisp acoustic playing. The synthesizer lines never offend, either. They do wonders for the overall mood, which is quite relaxing and captivating. (an instrumental metal album relaxing?) It is. Marty has a wondrous ear for melody. And his playing is always top class. This debut trades in the direct steam and power of his debut, with somber aura. The songs relay a stately winding tenacity that can dig into your heart. Impassioned performance if I ever heard one.

There is more diversity here, but not by a lot. And the guy still lets loose some mighty ferocious playing from time to time. Night has some strong bluesy soloing, which I quite enjoy. I feel it goes on for a bit too long, but nothing offends, and it is quite the supple journey. Subtlety isn't a word to toss around in his main genre, but I can easily note that he can be quite subtle with his melodies, and those exotic lead lines are still fantastic.

The world influences are even more prominent, and those female vocals are surprising in Realm of the Senses, warping the song into a deep and pretty melancholy. The synthesizer work fits well with the sweet vocal snippets that appear throughout, making for an ambient and solid track. West continues the sound scape exploration. Although with basic melodic presentation that lacks diversity. It doesn't keep from being beautiful, though. Trance stomps out with a trudging rock. The riff is fine, and the song is pomp lined as ever. Triumph calls feelings of just that is it takes the record home on a very high note. Marty would all but leave shredding entirely on his next release.

The sophomore effort is plagued with the lack of diversity, and somewhat weaker melodies replaced by more sonic exploration and experimentation. This album also lacks that bite, but makes up for this by having more sheer beauty than the debut, so it is quite an even call.

Best Song - Valley of Eternity

Worst Song - Night

**** atmospheric stars

Report this review (#213215)
Posted Friday, May 1, 2009 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
Errors and Omissions Team
3 stars Atmospheric synth (positive side of Tangerine Dream's work), endless guitar solos, a lot of virtuosity, all instrumentals (erm, except Realm of Senses, but I don't think it counts). We receive something that comes straight from a heart. It's not Progressive Metal at all. Hell, it can almost be used as a relaxation music, so calm, so much serenity feeling like it is.

This album should be one of the influences for certain part of Octavarium song (by "Dream Theater") and it's easy to spot which part.

There is not really much to say about this piece of gentle music that is like a ever happy puppy, always trying to please. 3(+)

Report this review (#534330)
Posted Monday, September 26, 2011 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars New age metal anyone? Well here is one of the few examples of such a combo and perhaps one of the greatest style shifts between first and second album in all of rock history, well at least in the metal world. MARTY FRIEDMAN needs no introduction and stunned the world with his outstanding unique style of neoclassical shredding skills with his days with Jason Becker in Cacophony on his solo debut "Dragon's Kiss" which was more than enough to win over Dave Mustaine and earned him a spot as lead guitarist in Megadeth creating some of the tastiest thrash metal ever to grace the ear drums. After a few years with Megadeth touring and creating metal music MARTY said that he burned out on the whole metal thing and needed a break from the style and wanted to experiment in other styles. The result of this desire was realized when he hooked up with composer and producer Kitaro, a fairly well known Japanese new age artist who has released a ridiculous amount of albums.

SCENES is a strange anomaly of a musical experience. It is first and foremost a guitar album but this is way different than what Shrapnel Records was known for. Much more known as a shredder's paradise which gave FRIEDMAN exposure to the greater musical world, SCENES is not only a departure for FRIEDMAN from his metal-centric reality but for the label as well and the best part of which is that the notorious crappy tinny shoddy production values that Shrapnel Records was famous for is thankfully missing here. This album is crisp and clean and every tiny sound being magnified into its full potential.

The music is a strange hybrid of exotic Eastern inspired cleanly played guitar scales with symphonic atmospheres shrouding every single note. The guitar playing is very tasty and instead of MARTY's usual million notes a second methodology, he plays slow to mid tempo arrangements that after fully unfolding accompanied by lush symphonic orchestral type arrangements only then explodes into a harder edged rock and metal with his electrified solos. Everything though is quite calculated and slave to the melodic developments. Nothing is left to improvisation or "unwelcome" notes. There is a clear Japanese influence on this one signifying FRIEDMAN's ever growing fascination with the Oriental world and musical styles even to the point that his future wife Mimi also contributes vocals in Japanese on "Realm Of The Senses" the most obvious Oriental sounding track of the lot. In case you are familiar with "Dragon's Kiss" the last song "Triumph" on here is indeed a new age version of "Thunder March."

If you could possibly entertain the notion of one of metal's greatest lead guitarists exhibiting his talents in a subdued dreamy atmospheric Eastern parade of beautiful and catchy melodies exercising as much restraint as his off-the-leash shredding then you should definitely check out SCENES for it is an extremely tasty and well thought out album that is as far as i know utterly unique in its experimentalism crossing unlikely metal shredding guitar sounds with symphonic new age sensibilities. I would rate this higher because the guitar playing, the melodic developments and Brian BecVar's atmospheric keyboards are top notch but what holds this back a wee bit for me is that long time associate Nick Menza's drumming style is a little too obsequiously laid back to the guitars and sometimes the keyboards can sound a little cheesy (especially on "Valley Of Eternity.") This is an album i fell in love with a long time ago and have listened to it countless times and it still instills the same thrill and awe that i experienced the first time around. A long time favorite that i love to break out now and again

Report this review (#1534411)
Posted Tuesday, March 1, 2016 | Review Permalink

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