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Generation Axe - The Guitars That Destroyed the World: Live in China

Generation Axe
The Guitars That Destroyed the World: Live in China
by Louise Brown at 22 July 2019, 7:14 PM

GENERATION AXE was started by Steve Vai in 2016. The super-group has toured several places around the world during the past few years. Their latest album, "Generation Axe: The Guitars That Destroyed The World: Live In China," features a collection of the band's best performances throughout Asia from their most recent appearances there.

Spoiler Alert: this album contains no great surprises or anything less than expected. Given the caliber of the musicians appearing on it you'll be sorely disappointed if you're expecting me to give it a bad review. It's just not happening. I'm only mentioning this for the people who hate these guitarists for whatever odd reasons they may have. For those of you who are either fans of these talented gentlemen, or if you're simply into excellent guitar playing, please feel free to read on.

The album opens with the entire band playing a song called "Foreplay" by a band you may or may not have heard of, BOSTON. The rendition is pretty great since it gives each guitarist a chance to show off some individual skills as well as everyone's combined sound when they're playing together as a group. There are plenty of riffs, hooks, and so on to keep you interested. "Tempting Time" is performed by the guitarist I am the least familiar, Tosin Abasi, who's on the list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists Of All Time. He normally fronts a Progressive Metal band called ANIMALS AS LEADERS and has even launched his own guitar brand Abasi Guitars. His performance on the track is extremely complex and precise as he displays a great deal of versatility with regard to his playing ability. As you listen you can't help noticing that he can easily play several different styles of Rock and Metal. "Physical Education" is a duet featuring Abasi and guitarist Nuno Bettencourt, formerly of the band EXTREME. While the two artists have different approaches to their playing styles they manage to mesh quite well for this track. A nice, low-key interlude about halfway through the track is one of the highlights. It has sound which reminds me quite a bit of Jazz Fusion. It's great choice for anyone who likes modern Eclectic Experimental Rock music. Bettencourt turns in another admirable performance on "A Side Of Mash" which starts off with some seriously high-speed picking. It makes me wonder why the guitarist didn't throw his hat into the Speed Metal ring years ago instead of choosing the less adventurous Hard Rock route, but that's a discussion for another day. He also adds some classical flair to the song in places, proving that he is skilled enough at this point in his career to be considered a master, too. "Sideways" follows, which is a bluesy ballad played by Bettencourt and the legendary berzerker himself, Zakk Wylde. The song is quite emotional and well-played, too, a guarantee that it will tug at your heartstrings just a bit unless you're completely soulless. Wylde performs the Classic Rock hit "Whipping Post" next, which allows him the chance to show that he can still play Southern-style music just as good as ever. Not too shabby for a Jersey guy,that's for sure!

Steve Vai makes an appearance with "Bad Horsie".  The track has Vai's signature Hard Rock with a distinctly blues sub-influence that you can't help appreciating. He has an improvisational flair as a guitarist that I've always admired, too, because it is always him to take risks musically that others might be afraid to try. You can tell he enjoys playing for the sake of playing, which is something that far too many performers lose sight of over time. Yngwie Malmsteen performs next, playing a medley showcasing a few of his hits; it's called "Baroque & Roll/Overture/From A Thousand Cuts/Far Beyond The Sun".  Epic would be the only word to do it justice. Malmsteen plays his heart out, revealing that he still has plenty of passion as a musician. I noticed a certain air of light-heartedness, too, which is something new, but very welcome, since the artist has been accused at times of being a bit too distant from his fans. I think he's lost some of that hard edge in his older years, which happens with certain people from time to time.

"The Guitars That Destroyed The World: Live In China" is excellent. All of the tracks are produced and mastered beautifully, making the whole listening experience worth every minute that it takes. If you're a fan of outstanding guitarists like I am, or if you simply like great live albums then you will certainly want to acquire this one for yourself.

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 9
Memorability: 10
Production: 10



5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
  1. Foreplay
  2. Tempting Time
  3. Physical Education
  4. A Side Of Mash
  5. Sideways
  6. Whipping Post
  7. Bad Horsie
  8. Baroque & Roll/Overture/From A Thousand Cuts/Far Beyond The Sun
  9. Black Star
  10. Frankenstein
  11. Highway Star

Lineup:
Steve Vai - Guitar, vocals
Zakk Wylde - Guitar, vocals
Nuno Bettencourt - Guitar, vocals
Yngwie Malmsteen - Guitar
Tosin Abasi - Guitar, vocals

Record Label: Ear Music
     


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