Tony MacAlpine – Violent Machine

From the very first note, one knows that this will be one hell of a ride! Quite the impressive guitarist, MacAlpine does not sacrifice melody for speed. In more than one place he reminds me of Steve Hackett at his best.

MacAlpine was originally trained as a pianist, and then taught himself the guitar. His first album, Edge of Insanity, was recorded with Steve Smith (Journey) and Billy Sheehan (David Lee Roth). Then he was in M.A.R.S. with Tommy Aldridge, Rudi Sarzo and Rob Rock. This album is performed with Mike Terrana and Kevin Chown.

Although MacAlpine’s guitar is the major element of the album, he does take to the piano to give us the greatest moment of the album, Chopin’s Étude # 12, Op. 10. Here MacAlpine proves that not only does he master the guitar, but the piano as well. It is a stunning moment where the piano seems to take on a life of its own.

It provides a nice interlude in the overall feel of the album. My one regret is that there isn’t more of this on the album.

Speed, but not too much of it, combined with superior melodies, that is essentially what this album is about.