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Tommy Vitaly - Hanging Rock

Tommy Vitaly
Hanging Rock
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 24 May 2012, 9:18 AM

Back when I reviewed the debut album of the SEVEN GATES’s guitarist Tommy Vitaly, “Just Me”, I figured that aside from the low quality production that held the album together, this guy is no more than just another guitarist trying to make a sort of an Yngwie Malmsteen career out for himself. Well, almost two years passed since my last interaction with this guy’s material, and I was sure that his band SEVEN GATES would be releasing something new by now, and here I am tuning to the second album of Vitaly’s works under the name of “Hanging Rock”, once again via IceWarrior Records. All in all I still think that Vitaly is more than just influenced by Malmsteen’s fretwork patterns; however Vitaly made a crucial change on this album, in comparison to the debut, when he brought over several vocalists to man the fronting position. That change, along with other riffing upgrades and different soloing outlines that Vitaly implemented on his material, like actually playing strong rhythm guitars, either than the solo combustions of Malmsteen.

Respectfully, the vocal department, which is credited also to Vitaly for his choices and thanks to the talented individuals that participated, was the prime aspect for the success of this release. Vitaly rallied up Mats Leven (AMASEFFER / ex-AT VANCE / ex-DOGFACE / ex-YNGWIE MALMSTEEN), Carsten “Lizard” Schulz (EVIDENCE ONE / PARADISE INC. / ex-DOMAIN / ex-SANVOISEN), the screaming banshee Todd LaTorre (CRIMSON GLORY), David DeFeis (VIRGIN STEELE), Michele Luppi (SECRET SPHERE / THAUROROD / ex-VISION DIVINE) and Zak Stevens (CIRCLE II CIRCLE, MACHINES OF GRACE, ex-SAVATAGE). I think that is a pretty good lineup if one wishes to boost up and album. With no disrespect to Thomas Vickstrom, which was the main frontman on the previous release, it seemed to me that Vitaly had to make this selection for this release in order to make it more diverse and successful.

Nonetheless, like every artist who summons great names to take vocal parts in his / her release, Vitaly came to prove his worth. As for his abilities, Vitaly is a great guitarist. With his Malmsteen influences he showed additional sides of his fretwork. In overall the written music on “Hanging Rock” runs on the same flowing patterns as on “Just Me” and with a better production on its side, yet, due to the changing vocalists, Vitaly had to do a little subjugation to the material for it to suit the vocalists. Some of the material is more aggressive than the usual Neo-Classical stuff like the speedy mayhem, to the side of traditional and 80s oriented Metal play, on “Hands Of Time” (featuring Todd LaTorre) and “Betrayer” (featuring Mats Leven) or some of the intense moments on the classic to be “Run With The Devil” (featuring Carsten “Lizard” Schulz) and “Idol” (featuring Michele Luppi). On the other hand, Vitaly also wrote a few touchy angles like the wonderful and emotive “Forever Lost” (featuring David DeFeis) and the amazing closing chapter of this album, “Icewarrior” (featuring Zak Stevens) that express both moving creativity along with heavy, attractive and pounding traditional Metal music.

I think that with “Hanging Rock” this great Italian artist proved that aside from his talent as a shred guitar player, he knows how to find the right people for his musical needs. Traditional Metal lovers will fall for this album. In a way when thinking about it, maybe it was good that “Just Me” was the debut because the only way is up and this release is another stage in the going up process.

4 Star Rating

1. Betrayer (featuring Mats Leven on vocals)
2. Run With The Devil (featuring Carsten “Lizard” Schulz on vocals)
3. Hands Of Time (featuring Todd LaTorre on vocals)
4. Forever Lost (featuring David DeFeis on vocals)
5. Idol (featuring Michele Luppi on vocals, Norifumi Shima & Ferdy Doernberg solos)
6. Misanthropy
7. Heavy Metal God (featuring Carsten “Lizard” Schulz on vocals, David Shankle guitar solo)
8. Hanging Rock (featuring Ferdy Doernberg keyboard solos)
9. Icewarrior (featuring Zak Stevens on vocals) 
Tommy Vitaly- Guitars, Keyboards
Andrea "Tower" Torricini- Bass
Rhino - Drums
Record Label: IceWarrior Records


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