Sound — 9
I remember when I first listened to this album it meant absolutely nothing to me and I ventured more into his shred music in newer albums. But coming back to it later made me realise the beauty of his music here. Marty Friedman uses a variety of guitar tones on almost all his albums, heavy distortion to a soothing, clean sound emits in his pieces and this variety of tone is really shown on this album. For example, his first piece on the album entitled "Rio" starts with a very minor clean melody; it is then accompanied by a piano and eventually distortion guitar, and then alternates between them. This is just a taste of the experimentation that is included within this record. What makes this record different from the others, and in some cases criticised more for it is Marty's indulging within other genres and his attempts to include pieces with techniques ranging from blues in "Last September" and slow jam in "Intoxicated". However these pieces don't seem to reach out to the genres appropriately and are lacking somewhat in the 'Marty' feel to his music which is a turn-off to many listeners of 'True Obsessions'. This album does however continue the exotic scales and sounds that Marty creates in his earlier pieces as well; "Glowing Path" shows some very recognisable sounds which appeal to me a lot and also some of the fans of his previous work. The individuality this album has compared to his other albums have actually been acknowledged by Marty, and he has criticised his album before on his piece "Rock Box", "I'm not sure what I was thinking, but I may have been trying write something along the lines of typical 'guitar hero radio song' fare. It just goes to prove that you should never try to be something you are not. The song didn't come out badly at all, it's just not 'Marty.'"
Lyrics — 7
True Obsessions is the only Marty Friedman album to feature lyrics (except for the Japanese lyrics on his recently released album "Loudspeaker"). Marty experimented with lyrics in four songs, "Last September", "Hands of Time", "Shine on Me" and "Live and Learn". I found the lyrics to be quite mediocre in "Last September", although it was my favourite song off the album I found the lyrics by them self a bit boring. He constantly mentions him crying and the whole thing seems quite clich with his whiskey. However I felt that his vocal ability really supported the bad lyrics and it makes the song very emotive. "Shine on Me" was an okay track, the lyrics helped build a memorable melody; combined with the guitar parts it proved a success. The lyrics were quite good, varying ideas put forward instead of one repetitive one like "Last September". This song was a Japanese bonus track and is quite hard to find on the internet to download. As is the song, "Hands of Time". "Hands of Time" is easily his best vocal song, Marty did not sing this though, nor did he write the lyrics, but he did compose the guitar parts. This song is quite poppy, with elements used in some of his previous pieces on the album. "Live And Learn" is quite a heavy song, starting with a strong riff accompanying the vocals; during his verses there are little fills which imitate the melody of the singing which is quite appealing. I find the singing itself quite bland however, to me he seems to be shouting instead of singing making this one of the weaker vocal pieces.
Overall Impression — 8
This is without a doubt, my favourite album by Marty. The album features songs of all of his styles; it's almost like a compilation. The only negative aspect I can see is the lack in quality that is present in some of his pieces. His attempts to play in different genres don't seem enough in some cases but in a way that makes the album enjoyable to listen to instead of his previous albums which are mainly just instrumental shred. I have to say "Intoxicated" and "Last September" are my favourite songs on the album, they qualify as catchy and memorable and it's a challenge to get bored of them. However many of the other songs are great as well, Marty included a demo titled "Thunder March" which has been released on newer albums, I prefer the demo though. "Espionage" is a very active song with synthesisers and lots of shred, quite similar to his Dragon's Kiss album. If the album were stolen, I wouldn't be surprised if someone did, I'd definitely buy it again, I've had this album for about 3/4 of a year now and I've still not soaked it up yet. It's an album which you can listen to it so much and it never gets boring.