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Alex Masi
Vertical Invaders
April 2002
Released: 2002, Lion Music
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Rick

Masi. Guitarist Extraordinaire. I have here before me the re released versions of some of Alex Masi’s work. Instead of putting them all in one big review I am going to give them each their own separate review. A couple of them are so unalike that I figure it’s the least I can do. As I have already dealt with the history of this guitar wizard I won’t go into detail again. If you want to read more about him you can search for my review of ETERNAL STRUGGLE which I did only a few months ago. In that review I delve into the past of Alex Masi.

After the success of ATTACK OF THE NEON SHARK Alex Masi released a second instrumental CD entitled VERTICAL INVADERS (1990). This release saw Masi joined by TNT and Malmsteen drummer John Macaluso. Masi played all guitars, bass and keyboards. Masi hauls out the big guns right away with the opening track “Instant Army”. With this track he establishes that this disc is going to be quite different than ATTACK OF THE NEON SHARK. “Rock of Changes” seals the deal. VERTICAL INVADERS is going to rock hard with very little of the experimental edge that was found on SHARK. Masi opens the emotional well with “Silver Memories”. A great track that has some very tasteful and atmospheric playing. Macaluso adds a great deal to this CD as he can pound skins with the best of them. He shines on “Quick Escape” which a pretty up tempo track as the title indicates. Alex Masi goes acoustic with “Trapped in a Warm Feeling” Electric leads blend with the acoustic chords to set the soundscape then Masi kicks in with some sad bluesy playing. This is one of the best tracks on the CD. The disc closes with the aptly titled “Xperimental”. The most diverse song on the disc and most definitely the most experimental!

The sound on this Cd is totally different than Masi’s previous release ATTACK OF THE NEON SHARK. Where SHARK was more experimental VERTICAL is more straight ahead. The addition of Macaluso has worked out nicely as he gives the songs some added kick with his superb drumming. Though I am not a huge fan of instrumental CDs Masi has succeeded where many other instrumentalists fail. He has created songs that are interesting and engaging instead of overindulgent, useless exercises in guitar wankery.
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