Rich’s Rapidfire Recommendations – bite-sized metal morsels to let you know about albums that have grabbed Rich Davenport by the ears, that we hope you’ll enjoy too! ROCK ON!
Artist: MICHAEL ANGELO BATIO
Album: “Shred Force 1”
Label: Rat Pak Records
Released: April 14, 2015
01. Hands Without Shadows (featuring Bobby Rock and William Kopecky)
02. Burn (featuring Todd LaTorre and Mark Tremonti)
03. Juggernaut (Featuring Chris Poland, Dave Reffett, Annie Grunwald, Guthrie Govan, Mike Lepond, and Michael Romeo)
04. What You’re Doing (featuring Todd LaTorre, Kurdt Vanderhoof, Chuck Garric, Jeff Plate and Craig Blackwell)
05. 8 Pillars of Steel (featuring Elliott Dean Rubinson, Dave Reffett, Jeff Loomis, Rusty Cooley, George Lynch, Andrea Martongelli, Craig Goldy)
06. Call To Arms (featuring Dan Lenegar, William Kopecky and John Mrozek)
07. 2X Again
08. Slowhand (Featuring Warren Dunlevy Jr.)
09. Diamond (featuring Michael Wilton, Elliott Dean Rubinson)
11. Gotta Run (featuring Dan Lenegar, William Kopecky and John Mrozek)
12. No Boundaries
13. RRR (featuring Rudy Sarzo and Bobby Rock)
Bonus Tracks (Digital Version Only)
14. I Pray The Lord
Michael Angelo Batio – Shred Force 1. Hands down, one of the most entertaining and varied Metal albums you’ll hear this year. Long regarded by us six-string strummers as the Jedi Guitar Master, through decades of instructional dvds, helpful columns in guitar mags, and live clinics, this compilation (featuring additional new songs) shows that Michael Angelo Batio can walk it like he talks it when it comes down to making his own music. In the final analysis, all the double neck guitars and impressive visual showmanship that enliven MAB’s dvds, clinics and gigs simply don’t apply when it comes to an audio-only album, but the good news is, he’s got songwriting chops that will surprise anyone just expecting a mindless high-speed widdle-fest. The instrumentals are melodic and listenable as complete songs, as are the vocal tracks, and there’s far more to Michael’s playing than warp-factor shredding; his solos and embellishments are catchy, played with feeling, and use technique in a balanced way, and when he does pull something deadly out of his trick bag, be it a blazing fast run or a “how did he do that?” time-signature shifting riff, it only serves to enhance the music. On top of all that, there are tributes to some of his favourite players in “Slowhand” (Eric Clapton), “Diamond” (Dimebag Darrell) and “RRR” (Randy Rhoads, featuring Randy’s bandmate Rudy Sarzo), which see Mr Batio blending the riffs and licks of each player with his own ideas, a great concept that really draws the listener in. And did I mention the guest list? Read ‘em and weep; George Lynch (Lynch Mob, Dokken), Mark Tremonti (Alter Bridge, Creed), Todd La Torre and Michael Wilton (Queensryche), Chris Poland (ex Megadeth), Craig Goldy (Dio), Jeff Loomis, Kurt Vanderhoof (Metal Church) and more, enlivening not only MAB’s own material, but also smokin’ covers of “Burn” (Deep Purple) and “What You’re Doing” (Rush).
I’d say that Michael has a winning template for future albums with “Shred Force 1” – the combination of original vocal and instrumental songs with one or two covers and a tribute track all show his versatility and deliver an overall package that you can dig in to time after time.