Consummate West Coast guitarist Tony MacAlpine embarks upon a harmonious and at times ferocious search and destroy mission on his 13th solo album. Assisted by bassist Philip Bynoe on one piece, and all-universe drummers Marco Minnemann and Virgil Donati sharing duties, the program offers a hearty track mix. Here, MacAlpine pays close attention to compositional structure unlike many other prog-metal guitar albums, leaning heavily on the technical gymnastics side amid mediocre song-forms. He also multitasks by overlaying keys, bass and handling the programming spectrum. MacAlpine shreds into the netherworld with a spirited modus operandi framed on scorching crunch chords, cleanly articulated legato phrasings, and rifling single note licks.
The guitarist steers a ship complete with unrelenting pulses and polyrhythmic unison choruses. He intersperses these works with tuneful hooks and introduces a cogent playing field that fuses hardcore progressive-metal with memorable themes. Not as jazz-rock oriented evidenced via his longtime affiliation with the group CAB, yet MacAlpine's influential, and wide-ranging technical faculties sparkle luminously throughout. With arcing patterns, stinging dynamics and a few temperate moments, he merges a doomsday panorama with subtle expeditions, including spots featuring his expertise as a classical guitarist. Yet he realigns the charging impetus with distortion-heavy wah-wah licks on pieces such as "Pyrokinesis."
MacAlpine seizes the listener's attention by way of twirling upper-register phrasings and speed-of-light riffs, treated with soulful inflections and jazzy improvisational opuses. Indeed, he raises the bar and soars above common ground once again on this lusciously aggressive and often mesmerizing production.