Marty Friedman - Wall of Sound

Marty Friedman Wall of Sound cover
Marty Friedman
Wall of Sound
Prosthetic Records
2017
8
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Somehow, I’m gonna say this… I’m somewhat relieved that what might have been a very short lived Megadeth reunion of their most famous line-up didn’t happen, because it would have probably meant that Friedman would have dedicated himself to that, rather than releasing music to his heart’s content…
 
I mean towards the end of his tenure with Megadeth and because of Dave Mustaine’s further attempt to make the band more accessible to a wider audience, which climaxed back in the day with “Risk”, Friedman felt really unhappy about the direction things were going in and didn’t rejoin since, opting to relocate to Japan, whose culture he always liked and do his own think. His solo output has certainly increased in his post Megadeth days, with him releasing an album every couple of years and often collaborating with local idols and musicians.
 
On “Wall of Sound” there are obvious and often moments of virtuosity, but I think Friedman at times seems to go off the deep end, ie on the overpopulated opener “Self Pollution” that crams in way too many cool “jazz meets metal ideas and an extensive bluesy solo in under six minutes, in a way that would make Dream Theater blush.
 
Follow up, “Sorrow and Madness” seems to manage to pace things a bit better, both its sad intro (incl. violins) as well as its rather manic build up that scales back a bit for a very lyrical and beautiful symphonized finale.
 
“Steetlight” is a superb display on almost every level, as it’s fast, but not without substance, melodic, groovy… just perfect; it sounds almost influenced by the happier moments of Queen, triumphant marches or some lighter classical music.
 
“Whiteworm” is another excellent moment, where heaviness is blended with intricate melodies in a way slightly reminiscent of Satch, but then again turned onto 11.
 
“For A Friend” is fluid, epic, and even a little bit reminiscent of the Anacerontic song in places…
 
“Pussy Ghost”, apart from the odd title, seems rather uneventful, until a barrage of drums, actually a damn blast beat occurs, throwing the song in a pretty different direction. Interesting to say the least.
 
“The Blackest Rose” has a very nice temperate intro, before it goes into some tasteful neoclassicisms. That it retains throughout blurring into a more fusion mode as it progresses.
 
“Something to Fight” is a bit odd, as it’s a proper song, with lyrics and everything sung by Jorgen Munkeby of the Shining. It’s a persistent riffy piece that’s quite intense, as it bridges the old with the nu via shred in a way not entirely dissimilar to that of the crazy Canuck. Check out the friggin crazy sax solo in there that somehow doesn’t feel entirely out of place.
 
“The Soldier” is a melodic and quite sad piece that feels a bit odd tucked after a far more energetic song, but has a nice enough solo.
 
The “Miracle” manages to contrast some nice acoustics with a heavier backing melody in a pleasant and fulfilling way, while closer “The Last Lament” soloes at first enchantingly and slowly before it picks up and goes into some dazzling but delightful mids, before the curtain falls.
 
A little too condensed and chockfull on ideas; I experienced the album differently depending on my mood, as it’s a rather demanding listen in order to appreciate fully. But at all times, I couldn’t help but be in awe of the sonic tapestries that kept unraveling before me, either with tremendous speed or gusto or both. Go Marty, go… keep on making us regret that we never picked up a guitar!

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