REVIEW: MARTY FRIEDMAN – “Wall Of Sound”
I do not think Marty Freidman needs any introduction. For those who are uninitiated, he is a guitar player extraordinaire, famous for his work with Cacophony & Megadeth. He’s been consistently putting out amazing records since his departure from Megadeth and has a new one coming out soon, titled ‘Wall of Sound’. His influences are very diverse and it reflects in his style of composing. I had the pleasure of catching his performance a few years ago, and now I have the privilege to hear his new record.
The new record is produced by Marty himself, with Paul Fig and mixed by Jens Bogren. It features appearances from Jinxx of Black Veil Brides, Shiv Mehra of Deafheaven and Jorgen Munkeby of Shining. The sound of this album is a very clear balance between face pummeling metal and heavenly orchestral instrumentation.
The record opens up with “Self Pollution” that absolutely destroys any preconceived notions you may have about this record. Guitar virtuosity is going to be a frequent occurrence on this LP so I’m not going to spend a whole lot of time blabbering on about that. At the 1:35 mark in this song, things shift to a more reflective and atmospheric sound space and we welcome the first signature Marty ‘feel’ solos. Then at the 2:50 mark, we enter full blown orchestral sound. And then we return back to crazy face-crushing metal again. And that’s just the first song.
Wonderful orchestration follows on to the next track “Sorrow and Madness” featuring a proper violin solo accompanied by a piano. “Whiteworm” has this wonderful lick that keeps playing and is just everything that you want it to be. There’s a lot of prog-metal elements to this record that keep popping up and they do so in a non-pretentious way. “For a Friend” is the first of your classic Marty ballad on this LP. Its thoughtful, moving and screams emotion. If there was ever a time when you thought, ‘how can I translate what I’m feeling through this instrument’, Marty’s got you covered.
“Pussy Ghost” has this crazy bass lick going on that is pretty spot on. This track has a bit of melodic-death-metal feel to it. “The Blackest Rose” starts off with a clear statement – “Do you want some feels? Here’s some feels for you. Feel it!” and I think this is the genius of Marty, that his writing style and the way he plays his instrument are so intertwined and synchronized that it feels like his instrument is an extension of his soul.
“Something to Fight” features Jorgen Munkeby on vocals. It’s a healthy mix between power-metal and modern metal. Just when you think it couldn’t get any weirder, there is a bloody saxophone solo on this. It felt so good to hear that. “The Soldier” is an instrumentally scarce song and in a good way, because it allows for individual instrumentation to breathe supported only by the bass and drums. It was a good palate cleanser.
The last track on this LP is also the longest one, clocking in at 6:56. “The Last Lament” features all of the guitar-shred goodness, with some soulful licks and top notch instrumentation by his band. There isn’t much left to say about this LP. It’s pretty bloody good. Go ahead, do yourself a favor and get a copy. Do catch Marty live if you can. This is easily one of the top 10 records of this year.