REVIEW: NITA STRAUSS – “Controlled Chaos”
Famous race car driver Mario Andretti said “Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal — a commitment to excellence — that will enable you to attain the success you seek.” This quote fits perfectly with
Nita Strauss and her debut instrumental album called ‘Controlled Chaos’. This album showcases the drive and determination of the artist to create compelling musical compositions that burn with heavy metal fire.
If you have followed Nita Strauss’s career from the Iron Maidens to Alice Cooper, you know she can play guitar with the best of them. However, much of that work has been Nita playing the works of others. With Controlled Chaos, we have an opportunity to hear Nita composing her own music. The question then becomes, how does this stack up against other rock and metal instrumental guitar greats such as Satriani, Friedman, and Vai.
‘Controlled Chaos’ is definitely a metal album which moves Nita closer to the Marty Friedman school of composition. You won’t find a penchant for odd time signatures and exotic scales, but you will get stellar guitar licks blasting out of a Mack truck of tight and muscular metal songs. The video game sounding “Prepare For War” kicks into a power metal rocket ride featuring a flurry of arpeggios on “Alegria”. The general feel of many of the songs on Controlled Chaos is uplifted, heroic, and inspired. Nita’s songwriting focuses in on the melody using the voice of her guitar to establish the passion of each piece.
Getting deep and dark is the song “Mariana Trench”. The main riff has a mathcore Lamb of God vibe that takes a triumphant turn toward an Arch Enemy inspired fist pumping metal anthem. This song also showcases the pyrotechnic drumming of Josh Villalta. His lightning quick kick drums and blasting snare make their presence known throughout this album. While I overall enjoyed this album, it suffers a bit from production. Everything sounds compressed making each song flat. Rounding out the sound and perhaps pushing up the bass
guitar could help. Finally, the mellower songs “Hope Grows” and “The Show Must Go On” are generic and left me feeling nothing. I would rather hear Nita challenge me with a progressive rock themed ballad than these weaker offerings. Lord knows she has the talent to challenge the listener with extraordinary guitar playing.
‘Controlled Chaos’ by Nita Strauss showcases a guitarist consumed with passion for their music and ready to burn up the fretboard. It is an unabashed metal shred fest. Each song allows Nita to explore aspects of her creativity and express them through the guitar. This is a worthwhile album for the aficionados of guitar wizardry and metal music.