Not many people know this but Shrapnel is America’s longest running Metal label. Founded in 1980 they have been around longer than Metal Blade! It may seem odd to define the record company as ‘Metal’ as they focus on Guitar Gods in many guises, and we know that guitar is the root of all Metal, so they qualify for the distinction. They are still going today and I’m going to do a little roundup of three recent reviews on the Shrapnel label, namely, Jacky Vincent, Dario and a reissue of the Trauma album. Please feel free to enjoy the trio of reviews.
Young Dario is really making a name for himself. He has worked with Jani Lane of Warrant during some of Jani’s solo stuff. Then worked his way up the scale and is in Lizzy Borden. I had the pleasure of seeing him play with Lizzy Borden on the 70,000 Tons of Metal cruise in early 2013. While he was confined a bit in the structure of the Lizzy songs you could tell the kid could play. In 2013 he got signed to Shrapnel, a perfect fit if there ever was one, and he released his debut album simply titled DARIO LORINA.
The 13 track instrumental album runs for about an hour and showcases Dario immense talent. Dario style is that of the classic American Shrapnel roster and not of the neo-classical shred style. While Admittedly my preference is for the flashier Euro-style shredding, this is a fantastic work. Unlike the Jacky Vincent album, Dario’s contains better songs. The songs and the guitar work together, unlike the Vincent album where a very simple song is essentially a delivery platform for the next amazing solo. There is nothing wrong with either style, it’s just that if you added vocals and lyrics to the Lorina solo album you could have a decent Metal album, whereas the Vincent one is just a showcase for the style. Oddly enough there is very little information on who else played on the solo album.
Dario plays some speedy stuff like ‘Alive’, album opener ‘Demon Rum’ and my favourite cut, ‘Sacksong’. He also has some very nice and subdued acoustic work on cuts like ‘Words Unspoken’. One of the better slower songs is ‘Silhouettes’ which really shows some elegant and tasteful soloing atop a very good. If this had come in the late 80’s this would have been his very own smash hit, his own ‘Satch Boogie’ or ‘Summer Song’, albeit slightly more understated in delivery. Halfway through the album he breaks out a cover of ‘House Of The Rising Sun’ by The Animals. I’ve never quite understood the appeal of the song as a number of Metal bands have covered it over the years, but he does a fine job.
Since the release of this album, Dario has joined Black Label Society, featuring another (once) skinny, tall, blond, clean-shaven, young gun by the name of Zakk Wylde. All fans of Metal guitar should check out Dario’s debut, self-titled solo album to hear what all the hype is about.
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