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Tony Massaro Guitar Orchestra – Who Are These Guys?

Tony Massaro Guitar Orchestra
Who Are These Guys?
by Emily Schneider at 11 June 2020, 6:59 AM

With identities hidden behind superhero personas, TONY MASSARO GUITAR ORCHESTRA swings in with a crash landing. Not much is said about the band other than they are 5 guitarists and one drummer and they, of course, play instrumental music. It lands in the Melodic Rock side although the band describes their sound as 'Cinematic Rock Guitar' and no extended soloing. I was reluctant before diving into fittingly titled album “Who are These Guys?”

The opening track “The Edifice of Sound” along with “Transposition” were both just okay. The melodies were fine, but neither really had much that grabbed my attention.“Meditation in a Toolshed” and “March of the Wildflowers” had more of a 70's Psych Rock vibe with the melodies and play styles. You could certainly frolic around in a field of flowers to these whimsical tunes.  “A Turbulent Ride” did a lot more interesting things, considering there's 5 guitarists in this band and there was a lot of uniformity on the tracks previous to this one. This one felt like a short story with the melody and time changes, plus the variety of tunings and play styles. It was fun to hear the different layers and textures like they mentioned in their bio online.

“Ambient Note Garden” and “The Fig Tree” are both very short but dreamy numbers with some hazy sounding reverb. I could listen to a full-length song (meaning 3 minutes or longer) in this particular style. “False Prophets” has a cool, futuristic vibe with the added synthy effects. There was a whole space-age/cosmic feeling in the tuning of the guitars plus the melody. “Stranger in a Strange Land” clocks in at just under 7 minutes and it's a quaint soundscape with more of that dreamy, hazy reverb I mentioned I like. This is a good song to just get lost in thought to, it has that just right amount of ambiance.

Overall, this album was certainly unique. I don't think I've ever heard a band comprised of a quintet of guitars and a drummer before, truth be told. In some ways, it was interesting to hear so many layers of guitar when they were each playing another melody or had a different tuning. I both liked and disliked how almost every song sounded really different from one another. It kind of blocked the flow of the album at some points. I did like hearing a handful of different decade influences, particularly the 70's Psych Rock and that late 90's into early 2000's Alt-Rock in the riffs and melodies though. Also, the short songs were like cool miniature snapshots you could listen to, unlike the longer songs that were rather… dull. There simply wasn't enough going on melodically to keep my attention in most of their longer than 3 minute tracks. (although I liked “Stranger in a Strange Land” well enough). I also love a great guitar solo though and this album intentionally left solos out, so what can you do? It's still a solid enough album without; props for doing something different in the Instrumental Melodic Rock category.

Songwriting: 6
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 6
Production: 6

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. The Edifice of Sound
2. Meditation in a Toolshed
3. Why Have You Forsaken Me
4. A Turbulent Ride
5. Ambient Note Garden
6. Transposition
7. The Fig Tree
8. March of the Wildflowers
9. False Prophet
10. Peace and Safety
11. Stranger in a Strange Land
12. The Last Enemy
Lineup:
Dark Spellweaver -Guitars
Cyborg Sentinel – Guitars
Fast Strike Soldier -Guitars
Quantam Magician -Guitars
Thunder Warrior -Guitars
Dragon Rider -Drums
Record Label: Independent
     


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