Released: Nov 19, 2013 Genre: Neo-Classical Heavy Metal, Instrumental Hard Rock Label: M.A.C.E. Music Number Of Tracks: 10 Nitro guitarist Michael Angelo Batio teams up with George Lynch, Bill Peck and many more renowned musicians on his new solo album "Intermezzo."
IntermezzoFeatured review by: UG Team, on november 29, 2013 2 of 7 people found this review helpful
Sound: Michael Angelo Batio has earned a strong reputation within the guitar playing community for his dynamic use of the fretboard and sweep picked arpeggios. Michael first introduced himself to the music world back in 1984 when he joined the heavy metal band Holland, which featured Tommy Holland of Steppenwolf on lead vocals. Holland released a sole studio album, "Little Monsters," which despite moderate commercial success within the States wasn't enough to keep Holland around for much longer. The group would disband soon after, and Michael Angelo Batio went on to momentarily focus on his own solo band. The Michael Angelo Band didn't release any studio albums, however three of their original songs would make a later appearance on a Nitro compilation release.
Batio would soon go on to collaborate with glam metal vocalist Jim Gillette on a solo album, before the two would form the band Nitro alongside Vinnie Vincent Invasion bassist T.J. Racer and drummer Bobby Rock, similarly from Vinnie Vincent Invasion and later of Nelson and Slaughter. As momentarily bright as his previous efforts were, Michael Angelo Batio truly stood out on Nitro's debut studio album "O.F.R." The album's opening track "Freight Train" boasts some explosive arpeggios which even the most decorated guitarist would likely be unable to tackle, and mostly because of Michael's playing the song's accompanying music video earned heavy rotation on MTV.
Nitro would go on to release a second studio album in 1991, "Nitro II: H.W.D.W.S.," which included a strong cover of Ted Nugent's "Cat Scratch Fever," before the band would eventually call it quits. This of course wasn't the last fans heard from Michael Angelo Batio. Since he left Nitro, Michael has most recently focused heavily on his solo career, and briefly worked with the band Organ Donor on their 2001 album "The Ultra Violent." Now Michael is making his return to the music scene with his new album "Intermezzo," which also shows Michael teaming up an impressive cast of well known and respected guitarists.
"Intermezzo" is a strong collection of ten original songs from the hailed guitarist, all of which proudly feature Michael's expansive guitar playing. Songs such as "8 Pillars of Steel" hark back to Michael's earlier works, and also includes appearances by Michael Schenker bassist Elliott "Dean" Rubinson, George Lynch of Dokken fame, guitarist Dave Reffett from George Lynch's solo band, and a half dozen other guitarists. Others such as the opening title track "Intermezzo" show Michael returning to that defining neo-classical style which populated his most recent efforts. // 8
Lyrics: Michael Angelo Batio's new solo album "Intermezzo" doesn't include a lead vocalist, which in many ways is a good thing. "Intermezzo" is a batch of bland, vanilla-sounding guitar dominated tracks: a quality we hear in so many renowned guitarists' most recent solo efforts. "Intermezzo" does include some awe inspiring guitar work, but most importantly (in my opinion) each track is bolstered by melody, and is enough to get your foot tapping in to time. If we did have the addition of a strong lead vocalist to this mix, he wouldn't get the proper attention that he would deserve when you have such a broad collection of guitar talent trying to grab your attention. // 8
Overall Impression: With Michael Angelo Batio's new solo album "Intermezzo," we have an impressive collection of guitar talent joining together to create some memorable melody-infused anthems. Dizzying arpeggios are aplenty on this effort, and it's enough to capture the interest of any guitar player. // 8
Joe310707, on january 15, 2014 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: Michael Angelo Batio returns with an all instrumental, original album, "Intermezzo." Containing all of MAB's trademark lightning fast runs and super clean arpeggios, all behind some very heavy riffing. It's been a while since Michael has released an instrumental album like this and it doesn't disappoint. As soon as the first track is played you have Michael's incredibly rich, creamy lead tone presenting itself. Throw in some 7-string riffs and quick runs up and down the neck and you know what to expect from this album. // 9
Lyrics: This a pure instrumental album, no lyrics, however I will give a brief track by track breakdown:
1. "Intermezzo" - the title track contains some complex time signatures and melodic lead lines. Nice neo-classical part with MAB classic speedy solos.
2. "Kaleidoscope Images" - heavy riffing with some nice keyboards accompanying the rhythm.
3. "Oceans of Time" - one of the strongest from the album. Slow intro that builds into a heavy arpeggio based riff. Nice slow leads, great neo-classical section and a build up to a heavy riff at the end.
4. "I Pray the Lord" - slow track with a lot of powerful lead. Reminds me of "2 X Again" and "Peace."
5. "8 Pillars of Steel" - longest track on the album, full of some great rock riffs and licks. Plenty of insane MAB solos to keep you listening.
6. "The Possession (A Tone Poem)" - very heavy with some cool Dimebag inspired riffing and tight rhythm. Great tapping sequence too.
7. "5 Four Ever" - MAB ventures into jazz territory here. Complex chords, progressions and time signatures aplenty. Some pretty wild jazz lead on the this track too.
8. "Juggernaut" - very heavy and fast track. Lots of metal riffs and super fast lead.
9. "Overload Intro" - short prelude to "Overload." Nice clean guitar tone and some beautiful, clean arpeggios.
10. "Overload" - Fast paced track featuring many guest guitarists trading mind blowing solos. // 10
Overall Impression: Firstly, this album is heaviest MAB album yet. Very fast past and some real heavy metal riffs. Partly due to Michael's new 7-string guitar. Compared to his previous albums, it is a very straight forward album, apart from 5 four ever and I pray the Lord all the songs have a quick pace. The lead here is what you would expect from Mike. Very rich, overdriven tone. Super fast soaring solos and arpeggios everywhere.
The only downfall I find on this album is the lack of grove in the lead. His older songs such as "China" and "Avalanche" had some really nice little lead parts that you can sort of sing along to.
Overall, as a big fan of Michael Angelo Batio I found this album a great listen. If your looking for an album thats full of incredible guitar work or want a good shred album, this is it. Although the sheer quantity and velocity of all the lead guitar on this album may be much for some, its still a good listen to see some limits of the guitar being pushed.
Finally, this album shows that MAB still is one of greatest guitar players ever, precise, technical and inspiring. // 8