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Mike Albert Project - Afterlife (CD)

Mike Albert Project
Afterlife
by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos at 18 October 2009, 5:02 PM

Mike Albert is one of those guitarists that did not stand for too long besides the strong (and times difficult) persona of Dave Mustaine. If you go through MEGADETH's biography you won't be able to spot Mike's name in the band's entire back-catalogue since, he was only a session guitarist during the 'Killing Is My Business' tour. During the two month period Mike gained valuable experience that lately invested on song writing giving birth to this album. While trying not to think that Mike is getting advantage of his time with Mustaine for publicity reasons lets put our hands on the music.
Realms comes after the short intro with an almost PANTERA-esque sound and many Stoner influences. Fortunately for me, this initial musical direction does not last for long and the song turns into a thrasher with some great guitar work. Richard Schroeder has a voice in the vein of HELLYEAH's Chad Gray and generally does not sound not in total compliance to the overall Thrash profile. In order to be fair with him, I have to admit that when he uses the more aggressive timbre like he does in Stalker he comes closer to the music's heaviness and slightly touches the departed Gus Chambers from GRIP INC. Musically, Afterlife is very interesting and has a lot of guitars to enjoy and has absolutely nothing to do with similar works by other virtuosos. Indeed, this is not a guitar oriented album with long and most of the times boring solos, but one with heavy songs and really good melodies that -yes- have been influenced by early MEGADETH. As the promo sheet reads, this album contains music composed by Mike during the time period after splitting up with MEGADETH. So, not all of the songs are in the same vein and differ mainly in terms of heaviness. Just like the homonymous track, where the TESTAMENT finishing touches and the hearty double drum pedaling are excellent reasons to headbang. Even the vocals come pretty different and in general work in favor of the overall rating despite the fact that there is not a clear musical direction. One of the album's highlight is Hypnotic with the GRIP INC attitude and the killer guitar riff based on In The Hall Of The Mountain King orchestral suite by Edvard Grieg. This is one hell of a melody that always sounds excellent on Heavy Metal cover versions. The definite weak spot of Afterlife is the blurry sound production. With this type of guitar work you have to have a very good production or else there is the danger of burring everything up. This also results in the dry drum sound that in times comes as if was born in a drum machine.
All in all, this is a very good album filled with energy and power in the Thrash way with minor mainstream additions. The band sounds solid enough to make a fuss around Afterlife and stop using Mike's short collaboration MEGADETH as a publicity trap.
P.S.: What's the point with this METALLICA-looking font in the band's name?

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
Octavia
Realms
Blind Mans Bluff
Stalker
Dr. Death
Afterlife
Hypnotic
Weapons Of Mass Destruction
UMFR
Why Do You Always Say Goodbye?
UMFR (censored)
Lineup:
Mike Albert - Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
Richard Schroeder - Vocals
Jon Escobedo - Bass Guitar
Angel Lujan - Drums
Ruben Martinez - Guitar
Record Label: Big Deals Records
     


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