Saturday, August 6, 2016

Various Artists - 1998 [2007] "Guitar Battle" (Japan Remastered)

This album was released in Japan for a reason and this reason is that the Japanese appreciate a good ass rocking guitar session. Their pop music is indicative of this as most Japanese pop songs have an average of 4 guitar solos per every 7 songs as compared to America where it is one guitar solo per seven pop songs.
George Lynch and John Petrucci come out as the most technical guitarists on this albums. Everyone else is stand by on rock and blues scales. Of course that would have been Lynch as well if it were not for his recent (1994) lessons at Guitar Institute of Technology in Los Angeles.
For once we also get to hear John Petrucci go improv as most of the Dream Theater series guitars have been mainly real hard studio work and composing. You can tell the difference in each guitarist as each uses his own unique sound on the album.
This is a must have both in session creativity and unique guitar theory for the avid guitar listener/fan. No, Greg Howe does not make a special appearance (though in my opinion, Greg and his star pupil, Prashant Aswani, excel above these sessioneers) in this album, but there is plenty to listen to otherwise like Andy Timmons, Brad Gillis, and Al Pitrelli (virtual unknowns in modern guitar).
Never before has there been such a collection of incredible guitarists on one album.

 To find this record for me was nearly impossible. But I managed to do it. And alll the searching was worthwhile. But, apart of all the excellent guitar in the cd itself, there is one man thar REALLY blew my brains. John Petrucci. That's why I started to listen to progressive music, when I discovered the magical music of Dream Theater. Really great record, it expands your horizons.

I have to tell you I had never heard of this album and once I did I had to have it if not for only the sheer need to have the opportunity to at least hear this album just once just to have the chance to hear these amazing performers playing together.

Now that I have it I can't stop listening, the tracks are amazing. And I have to agree, this is not a true Guitar Battle as much as it just a bunch of the world's best guitarist jamming to some of the best guitar songs ever written.

I believe it is Al Pitrelli that deserves the credit for getting these guys together for this fantastic album, and who better than Al who knows how to put together monster shows whether he is lead for Megadeth or rocking the holidays with the Trans Siberian Orchestra, the man has talent for guitar that is only rivaled by his ability to bring together incredible talent on one stage.

Train Kept a Rolling - Al Pitrelli, George Lynch, Michael Lee Firkins, Reb Beach, Steve Morse - is probably the 2nd to least enjoyable song on the entire album, but I still love it, just something had to come in last. This is just a pure jam of multiple styles and sounds that rock like a pendulum instead of colliding with one another.

Something - Al Pitrelli, Michael Lee Firkins, Reb Beach, Steve Morse, Brad Gillis, John Petrucci - one of my all time favorite Beatles tunes and it shines with these guys playing and effortlessly combining style and sound to pay tribute to a truly masterful piece of music. Probably my Favorite track on the album.

Memphis - Al Pitrelli, Michael Lee Firkins, Reb Beach, Steve Morse, Brad Gillis, John Petrucci - this is just a fantastic session of jams with the blues ringing through from the very core to only transition to a wonderfully rocked out bad ass bit of guitar work.

Purple Rain - Al Pitrelli, Brad Gillis, John Petrucci, Andy Timmons - I am no prince fan, though I can acknowledge he is a talented musician, just not my cup of tea. This track is the most surprising one on the entire album for me and they do it better than it was ever meant to be in my opinion. I now have a prince song that I love to listen too, just without prince and this track just freaking rocks.

Mambo King - Al Pitrelli, Reb Beach, Brad Gillis, Andy Timmons - My least favorite track, again this song is just not my cup of tea. That said it is still a masterful work of blending the guitar work of so many masters into a single song. It is just a bit slow to start but he solos in the middle make it well worth the listen while it slows down a again towards the end, the acoustic is well played as well an interesting contrast to the solos in the middle.

Birdland - Al Pitrelli, Michael Lee Firkins, Reb Beach, John Petrucci - Another good track. this song sounds like the guys were just flat having fun with it. the lick work is playful and you can really get a sense for the fun the guys were having with it.

If, like me, you are addicted to bad ass electric guitar you will not want to miss this one. I have to tell you this 6 track CD is worth every penny you will pay for it. I absolutely love it and regret not having found it sooner. The sound quality is great, the playing is rich, pure fun and the talents shine in it. I tell you it is not a battle aldum and has none of the feeling a battle ought to have. This is pure fretboard, picking, hammer and pulling fun all the way through. This is a bunch or just really talented guys having a blast with their guitars and doing what they do best and loving every minute of it.

I LOVE this CD and listen to it all the time. There are a few times where I'm not sure who is playing what, but generally you can tell by the style. I question that it always follows the order listed on the cd. Pitrelli has no business being on this CD, but is because he organized the whole thing. His solos are fine, but he is not in the same league as the others.

One of the biggest surprises is Brad Gillis. I've always been a fan of his playing, but his solos are perhaps the most unique of the bunch. Petrucci and Morse seem ton DEVASTATE the rest, even though they all are wonderful. I think it's personal preference. Andy Timmons is also great along with the mega under appreciates Michael Lee Firkins. Reb Beach is another player I love, but his contribution seems buried, and his signature sound not as dominant. Lynch is wicked and I wished he would have contributed more.

Courtesy: Original uploader

Track Listing
1 Train Kept a Rollin'
featuring: Al Pitrelli, George Lynch, Michael Lee Firkins, Reb Beach, Steve Morse.
2 Something
featuring: Al Pitrelli, Brad Gillis, John Petrucci, Michael Lee Firkins, Reb Beach, Steve Morse.
3 Memphis
featuring: Al Pitrelli, Andy Timmons, Brad Gillis, Michael Lee Firkins, Steve Morse.
4 Purple Rain
featuring: Al Pitrelli, Andy Timmons, Brad Gillis, John Petrucci.
5 Mambo King
featuring: Al Pitrelli, Andy Timmons, Brad Gillis, Reb Beach.
6 Birdland
featuring: Al Pitrelli, George Lynch, John Petrucci, Michael Lee Firkins, Reb Beach.

Additional Personnel:

Bass – Danny Miranda
Drums – John O. Reilly
Rhythm Guitar – Al Pitrelli