Sound — 6
It's significantly challenging for a talented guitarist to step away from one of the most readily known names in heavy metal and attempt to forge a successful career as a solo artist. Marty Friedman has been attempting to achieve this same feat after leaving Megadeth during the new millenium. Friedman had previously forged a strong name for himself for helping construct such studio efforts as "Rust in Peace" and "Countdown to Extinction," before ultimately leaving the band due to creative differences; Friedman wanted the group to remain to their more aggressive approach, whereas Megadeth proceeded to move towards an, well, alternate route.
Aggressive is certainly an appropriate term to describe Marty Friedman's newly released solo effort, "Inferno." The guitarist's thirteenth studio album arrives soon after several somewhat questionable ventures which showed Friedman providing his own take on Japanese pop songs, and shows Friedman recentering his attention towards crafting take-no-prisoners heavy metal tracks. The majority of "Inferno" is comprised of instrumental recordings, which are injected with supplemental doses of unforeseeable tempo changes and experimental instrumentation, some of which benefit the piece while perhaps more frequently leave the listener scratching their head.
Selections such as the accelerating title track "Inferno" and "Steroidhead" boast rock bottom rhythm guitar and wild lead guitar work, which proves to be somewhat too chaotic to digest after one listen while remaining nonetheless solid. However, songs such as "Meat Hook" are downright bizarre, and show Friedman implementing a manic solo above racing saxophone playing. It's during these more experimental moments where Friedman's eccentric passion for heart-racing recordings collides face first into a literal and largely negative "Train of Consequences."
Following an albeit brief yet familiar "Hyper Doom," the album once again reaches a rough performance on "Sociopaths." This track introduces the first appearance of a lead vocalist on the album, this time being David Davidson of Revocation. Simply put, this track is blistering for the sake of being blistering, with a chaotic conclave of high energy drum kicks, lung busting screams and incohesive guitar arrangements ultimately resulting in a performance which feels heavily improvised.
Lyrics — 5
"Inferno" includes two recordings which feature the addition of lead vocalists; one of which being the aforementioned "Sociopaths" featuring David Davidson, the second being the slightly palatable "Lycanthrope," which shows Alexi Laiho of Children of Bodom at least attempting to place moderate variation into his performance. For the most part, however, the only moments which include vocal tracks only contribute to the album's uncontrollably improvisational qualities.
Overall Impression — 6
Former Megadeth guitarist Marty Friedman attempts to channel the restless side to his songwriting through a compilation of of incohesive guitar elements and the occasional addition of deafening screams on his new studio album, "Inferno." While some fans may appreciate the twelve tracks of accelerating guitar work, the majority of dedicated listeners may want to take caution when listening to Friedman's latest effort.