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Joe Stump – Symphonic Onslaught

Joe Stump
Symphonic Onslaught
by Rachel Montgomery at 20 April 2019, 5:07 PM

Joe Stump needs no introduction for Heavy Metal guitarist aficionados. A contemporary of 80s icon Yngwie Malmsteen, he carries over similar thrashing licks and riffs - distortion included. His new album, “Symphonic Onslaught”, comes on the heels of a major announcement: Stump is joining the legendary supergroup ALCATRAZZ with ex RAINBOW/MSG singer Graham Bonnet, stepping into the shoes of Yngwie Malmsteen and Steve Vai.

Obviously, from this album, Stump has chops. He knows what he’s doing and he’s an incredibly talented guitarist. The opening track, “Demonic Trance”, starts with a groan and a slow build of ambiance, guitars, and steady drums. I enjoy what he does with the guitar here – the fast thrashes intertwined with slow arpeggios showcases his versatility well; the thrashes near the end sound “sweeped” - as in he took the guitar and strummed them over the strings rather than picking them individually. It’s a solid intro, but not a lot in the way of a primary melody.

The second track, “Hit the Deck”, hits heavier and faster, with more riffs and chugging than the previous track. Like the first one, this track showcases how well the guitarist can work, but the first two tracks show how well he can accommodate slower and faster beats. It has more melody to it and functions better as an individual track than the album opener.

The third track, “On With the Action”, opens with a pick-scrape, which can grate on the ears of the unprepared. From there, the album has little variety; for anyone who isn’t a guitar aficionado, the tracks can bleed into each other, sounding monotonous after a while.

“The Road to Ruin” is a high point on the album as the sound is clearer and more unique. It could have used some bends earlier to give it variety, but when it reaches some slower, more emotional notes, it delivers a powerful force that makes it worth the wait. However, when he sits on a note, it can sound screechy, true to Malmsteen’s sound, but it can be harsh on the ears of the uninitiated.

Overall, Stump has great speed and an excellent right-hand technique that you can hear from the album. The rhythm guitar, however, sounds dull in contrast. However, it needed to be to showcase Stump’s technique. The sounds also have a videogame quality to them, particularly some of the sweeps and the repetitive ends of some of the tracks like “Hit the Deck”. Also, there’s a lot of distortion in the tracks; unless you’re a fan of 80s Yngwie Malmsteen style, it might not be for you.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

1. Demonic Trance
2. Hit the Deck
3. On with the Action
4. The Beast Within
5. Facemelting Devastation
6. The Road to Ruin
7. Stratocastle
8. Swedish Assassin
9. From the Maestro's Book
10. Mayhem Ensues
11. The Bullet Train Express
Joe Stump- All Guitars
Francisco Palomo - Keyboards/bass
Hector Jaramillo - Drums
Record Label: Lion Music


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