Man your shreddlestations...
Genre: neoclassical shredding metal
It's a shred or be shredded world out there, and just you hope you'll never have to battle it out with Joe Stump because you will be one shredded. You will be shredded to pieces. And then the shredded pieces will be shredded into even smaller pieces.
This album is all about the guitar. There is no cover artwork to speak off. The other instrumentation is minimal, just providing the necessary drive. The lead guitar is louder than everything else in the mix. And, of course, the album has "shred" in the title.
And, already in the very first track 'The Ritual Begins', Joe Stump shows off his superior techniques in a series neoclassicisms performed with the speed of light. And it is the lead guitar that is the primus motor of this album. Every track is dominated by one neoclassical solo after another performed with incredible technical ability. But neoclassicims is not all Joe Stump has to offer, as he also delivers some nice bluesy stuff every now and then as well as some more straight forward heavy metal leads. Every now and then, there is also some proper riffage (although the is rare compared to the leads), as in 'Man You Battlestations' and 'Enter the Coven' as well as my favorite track on the album 'Pistoleros' which is probably also the most melodic track on the album in the sense that it is more oriented towards melodic leads and mere shredding. Another cool track is 'The Black Knight's Castle' which has a bit of a Rainbow-like feel to it, and the epic closer 'The End Approaches' is shrouded in Middle Eastern mystery and defintiely also one of the standout tracks, for my money, on the album.
As with so many other instrumental shred-based neoclassical releases, this one does become a bit monotonous to my ears when I listen to it in one go, but it is definitely enjoyable in a couple of tracks at the time. Although I am not a fan of productions where the guitar is dominant, I must say that I really like the twangy sound that Joe Stump's guitar has. There is a certain Blackmore-esque feel to it which, as a fan of Rainbow, I really appreciate.
On "Revenge of the Shredlord", Joe Stump once again show what an accomplished shredder he is. There should be enough guitar acrobatics to satisfy the needs of any shred fan for the next ten years.