When Marty Friedman announced his latest album “Inferno” back in December ’13 Marty described it as “the album that fans of my work with those two bands [Cacophony & Megadeth] have always wanted me to make.” This excited me, it excited all of us and then Prosthetic Records released a teaser of the track Steroidhead which you can hear below and the excitement stepped up not a notch… that’s a fairly big understatement to be honest because it confirmed exactly what Friedman had said.
Marty Friedman – Steroidhead:
Recorded in Los Angeles with engineer Chris Rakestraw (Children of Bodom, Danzig) and mixed and mastered by Jens Bogren (Opeth, Amon Amarth), the album features what Friedman recently told Guitar World is “the most intense writing and playing I can do,” with the goal of “go(ing) completely ape-shit, in the most ‘Marty’ way possible.”
“Inferno” includes several collaborations including Alexi Laiho (Children of Bodom) on the track “Lycanthrope”, flamenco/metal acoustic duo Rodrigo y Gabriela on “Wicked Panacea”, Revocation guitarist and vocalist David Davidson on “Sociopaths” and Danko Jones on Lycanthrope” and “I can’t Relax”. In addition, the album features Marty’s first songwriting collaboration with Jason Becker since the pair played together in Cacophony, the track is called “Horrors” and it is one of my personal favourite tracks on the album. The complex instrumentation, changing tempos, harmonized guitars etc. is a reminder of the brilliant collaboration that was Cacophony but without the frantic and constant onslaught of arpeggios. The breakdown in the middle of the track is reminiscent of Jason Becker’s “Air” but between the moments of acoustic arpeggiated sequences backed by string quartet are thundering metal riffs!
Another favourite track of mine is Meat Hook featuring Norwegian Jazz musician Jørgen Munkeby whom I assume is the person playing the crazy sax lines and melodies over the thrash guitar parts. It’s not the first time I’ve heard Sax paired with Metal (check out Tesseract “Of Energy – Embers” taken from Altered State) and it seems to work really well.
“Inferno” is a heavy album! I had hoped it would be and it certainly delivered way beyond my expectations. The couple of tracks that I expected the entire album sound like are “Undertow” which is a beautiful composition where Marty’s melodies sing over Gregg Bissonette’s drumming and “Inferno (Reprise)” which takes the theme from the first track on the album shifted up an octave and serves as an closing statement with some Marty embellishments and Cadenza thrown in to show he’s still the boss when it comes to Metal guitar playing. As good as these two tracks are, I’m really happy that the rest of the album are killer Metal songs and instrumental tracks.
Marty is been better known for his melodic work and love of J-Pop in the years he has been living in Japan (since ’99?) so to hear him release something heavier than Megadeth is going to make a lot of the old ‘Deth fans extremely happy, all the shredder fans beyond ecstatic and probably introduce his playing to a new younger audience as this is his first worldwide release in over 10 years.
Check out the title track below.
Are you still here? Buy it already! Oh yeah sorry it’s not released until the 27th May, 2014. Mark the date people.