Sound: This is the second and final record of the band cacophony. The lineup has changed, as atma anur was replaced with Kenny Stavropoulos, and Jimmy O`shea was added as a bass player. The actaul drumming on the record was done by Deen Castronovo, as kenny joined them for the tours. Guitar masters are really shining in this one too, becker and friedman do a great job as usual, with crazy and complex lead guitars, harmonized. The songs are more focused on the whole band, unlike last album which was a complete showcase for Becker and Friedman.
Review of the songs:
01.X-Ray Eyes: I really hate the vocals here, the riffs kinda annoy me too, but in 2:00 becker kicks in with crazy legatos, then to a melodic solo (utilizing the whammy bar). then marty gets the lead, and they switch between them. great leads that make up for the rest.
02.E.S.P: cool song! Nice acoustic intro, which leads into the main riff. Vocals are better than the first song, but still annoy. The lead section here is amazing! Starting with harmonized diminished arpeggios, to a beautiful melody which you can sing to.
03.Stranger: probably the weakest song on this record. Becker wrote this one, the riffs are kinda in your face, the vocals are actually ok, the lead work here is not really interesting. Although one of the solos is something becker recorded by flipping the tape and playing over it, as twisted and original that it sounds, it doesn`t save the song. Sorry!
04.Go Off!: the title track is a complete ear orgasm! Crazy playing all over the place, you can totally tell the difference here between the two axe-men. Becker is the fast-ass guy who screws around with the tremolo, making his guitar cry and squeal, while friedman sticks with his asian influenced phrasing, odd bends and a great melodic sense. Highly recommended, this one will probably make you want to throw your guitar away. (for the guitarists among us)
05.Black Cat: another great song! Everything is great in this one. The main melody is original, sounds very asian, yet you can sing to it. Vocals actually kick-ass in this one, very funny lyrics. Guitars are doing an awesome job, riffs, leads, all over the place. The ending is just magical, as they play a mellow acoustic piece in E major, and solo over it beautifully.
06.Sword Of The Warrior: great drumming, brutal song. Hate the vocals here, they`re just disgusting. The lead section here is just brilliant! B&f screw around with harmonizing, as the lead section starts with a major 3rd harmony, and descending until they play a very dissonant and yet awesome minor 2nd harmony! The rest of the leads are great too.
07.Floating World: best vocal performance! No doubt. I think that's a very under-rated song, its beautiful and melodic. The solos here are just full with emotion, you can cry off it. Kudos to peter marrino, for finally pulling off a good job.
08.Images: Becker`s piece, its brilliant. That song is full with melodies and moods, you`ll enjoy it. // 7
Lyrics: The lyrics aren`t really important, because that band is known for it's awesome guitar duo. Lyrics are mainly stupid, not something you can take seriously. I gotta say the "Floating World" lyrics are kinda nice! If you wanna listen to cacophony for the lyrics, you got the wrong idea, cause you`ll be disappointed. Just focus on the music. Peter Marrino most of the time is just annoying, I find myself skipping songs to the solos. // 2
Overall Impression: This is a classic record in terms of guitar playing, just because Becker and Friedman are awesome guitarists and song writers. It's less wanky than the last one, they learned to balance the shred stuff. The highlights are title track, Black Cat, Floating World and Images. The production is better this time. After this one both axe-men went their own way, although they helped each other in their solo records. If you like the guitar playing, I highly suggest you check the first record, speed metal symphony. Also check "Perpetual Burn" by Becker, and "Dragons Kiss" by Friedman. You wont be disappointed. // 6