Fireworks

Maxxxwell Carlisle - 'Visions Of Speed And Thunder' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/df/1e/ac/maxxxwell-carlisle-visions-of-speed-and-thunder-64-1442083961.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     September 12, 2015    
 
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Pleasant enough, but if they want to break beyond cult status... much more work is needed on the song-writing.

Billed as a "bodybuilder and Heavy Metal shred guitarist from Los Angeles", former Deathriders (the band built around original Anthrax vocalist Neil Turbin) shredder Maxxxwell Carlisle is perhaps best known as the current Hellion guitarist. He's released a number of solo albums over the years (both vocal and instrumental) and collaborated on other projects with a number of name musicians.

Don't know about you, but the sight of some man mountain hunched over a guitar makes me kinda nervous – remember Kane Roberts with Alice Cooper back in the 1980s? Not only because anyone built like a brick shithouse is physically imposing to most "normal" people, but because your brain automatically categorises them as some lumbering brute with none of the technical dexterity needed to play such a precision instrument. That said, many a book has been completely misjudged by a rather innocuous cover so, as ever, the quality of the contents should ultimately be the decider on whether an album stands or falls.

So what of 'Visions Of Speed And Thunder'? For starters, the guy can certainly shred with the best, although a quick trawl on the web through some of his past associations sort of implied that anyway. Things actually start of quite brightly with the title track (although I could really do without the Justin Hawkins-like falsetto), its marauding mid-tempo licks and Neo-Classically-infused hook coming across as a sort of Racer X meets Rainbow hybrid.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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'Marching With The Dragons' knocks it down a gear or two, its chest-beating machismo putting it very much into Manowar territory, whilst the kerosene fuelled 'Full Metal Thunder' punches you in the gut with all the pent up fury of a fledgling Bay Area Thrash band from the early 1980's. From here on in, things start to get a bit samey as Carlisle and his band get caught out by the same old pitfalls many of their predecessors found hard to avoid.

For starters there are too many songs that rely on that one dimensional "full-throttle to the end and bugger the consequences" approach which masks some really good melodies and makes everything sound samey. I know this is supposed to be a fusion of power, shred and speed but slowing it down once in a while would actually accentuate those qualities and give the songs more impact. I'm not saying it's all bad by any means – taken on their own merits the likes of 'Power Angel' (very Hellion) and 'Ramming Speed' (surprisingly Stratovarius) are fairly enjoyable – just that beyond the first couple of tracks, there's nothing that makes it stand out from the crowd.

Pleasant enough, but if they want to break beyond cult status... much more work is needed on the song-writing.

Dave Cocket

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