Sound: OK, so I got this CD from a guy in the mail last week. He wants me to review his album for him, so I said hey why not? I almost didn't listen to it, mainly because I didn't want to review another wanky shred guy's album (most of them suck). I did cave in early last week and listen, and man, am I glad I did. I wasn't prepared for what this album sounds like. The sound is huge! The rhythm guitars sound like something off an In Flames album and the drums and bass absolutely cook throughout the whole album. The lead guitar lines are smooth and beautiful, and LuPone knows how to kick ass when he needs to as well. It sounds as if you put Joe Satriani, Moby, Marilyn Manson, and James Hetfield all in a studio together and locked the doors.
Once I found out it was recorded in a home studio, and that LuPone had recorded every instrument (even a few cello lines) himself, I was even more floored. This album is major label quality, and it was all done by one guy. The album is also suprisingly varied. There's everything on there from speed metal, to pounding southern rock, electronica and even some new age. The guitar songs never seem to get repetitive on this album, and each song is so different from the one before it, it keeps you entertained and wanting more. // 10
Lyrics: There's only 3 songs with vocals on them. Vince LuPone isn't a singer by trade, and while it's not his strong point, he's really no slouch. In the moving and enchanting song "By The Time You Hear This" LuPone confronts serious emotional turmoil and it sounds like it's either a suicide song or a song about removing a toxic person from your life. I think it was left artistically ambiguous, but I'll let you be the judge on that. Sometimes his voice can sound a bit bland, and this song probably would have been better with someone like Amy from Evanescence. Either way, though, it's a great moody song Type O Negative fans and Dream Theater fans will absolutely eat up.
Now the first song was good, but the second lyrical song absolutely blew my mind. "Forever In A Day" is the hands down best song on the entire CD. First, for you prog guys, the song's in 5/4 time. Second, it's got a hard Marilyn Manson/NIN vibe going on throughout, and third, the vocals are downright scary. The lyrics go through dramatic and violent scenes from a nightmare as LuPone recants the details viscerally. His use of metaphor is outstanding and the pounding, thundering music behind the words sets the stage. The song goes through peaks and valleys, and the music is laid out well with the vocals, at times even jolting the listener with extreme changes in volume or texture that hit just like waking up in a cold sweat. // 8
Overall Impression: This album is fantastic, and even though it says LuPone is on a record label, I honestly haven't heard of Weeping Shadow Records yet. Maybe they're a new independant, or maybe LuPone just made it up. Either way, this guy needs to get signed to a big label and fast. His music is so versatile, he could easily play concerts with anyone from Satriani to Dream Theater, to opening for Metallica in a huge arena. My overall rating of Vince LuPone's "Screaming Into The Abyss" is a perfect 5 out of 5. A masterpiece. Watch out world, here comes a great new guitarist! // 10