Maximum Security review by Tony MacAlpine

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  • Released: Jan 1, 1987
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 10
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 8 (2 votes)
Tony MacAlpine: Maximum Security

Sound — 10
In 1987, Tony MacAlpine joined an exclusive group of instrumental neo-classical "shredders" releasing alblums around the same time as Yngwie Malmsteen, Marty Friedman, Jason Becker, Vinny Moore, just to name a few. And like these other musicians he released an all instrumental album in the mid- to late-'80s. Marty and Jason of course were in Cacophony together before helping with each other's solo album. Just for clarification, Cacophony did have vocals. Fun fact: Mike Varney who started Shrapnel Records was a major driving force behind shred instrumentals. I remember getting both of "Edge of Insanity" (1985) and Maximum Security (1987) when they came out, but for me "Maxium Security" is simply a masterpiece. Tony's style was different than a lot of his peers. He was more of a melodic player with speedy runs and sweeps thrown in with catchy riffs. He would set up a melodic riff and come back to it, rather than just soloing over power chords and that is what caught my attention. He struck more me as more of a composer. What some may not know is that he is extremely talent piano player as well. Just listen to "Etude #4 Opus #10" on track 8. My one complaint is that overall there is too much similarity to a few of the tracks. There are times I have to go back and look to see that I am on a different song. Also, I enjoy the guest appearances by George Lynch (ex-Dokken) and Jeff Watson (ex-Night Ranger).

Lyrics — 10
Ok review box you want 500 characters on lyrics for an instrumental album. derp! Well, all you have to is imagine the guitar singing and you will find the notes evoking deep emotion. I have caught myself singing along with the melody. Fantastic! Damn, need more characters about lyrics on an instrumental album. Thinking... um just make up your own lyrics.

Overall Impression — 9
It is pretty hard to pick out which are the most impressive songs but by a slim margin I go with track 2: "Hundreds of Thousands," track 3: "Tears of Sahara," and track 9: "The Vision." I love that I can just keep listening to this album over and over. I love Cacophony, "Dragon's Kiss," "Perpetual Burn" and early Malmsteen but after awhile I feel I get ear fatigue. There is nothing I hate about this album. The track similarity and a few cheesy synth sounds take a away a point in my book. If it were stolen, I would certainly go out and get another copy.

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