Released: 2009, Magic Circle Music
Reviewer: Robert Williams
If you are a shred guitar enthusiast like me, then you will want to get your hands on THE ESSENTIAL SHRED GUITAR COLLECTION from world renowned neo-classical shred wizard Joe Stump. Joe is a disciple of Yngwie, Uli, Blackmore, Shenker and Hendrix and has established himself at the forefront of today's top six stringers on previous releases such as the popular "Night Of The Living Shred" not to mention his work in Reign of Terror and most recently HolyHell, the female fronted symphonic metal band.
THE ESSENTIAL SHRED GUITAR COLLECTION opens with Joe's interpretation Tchaikovsky's classical piece "Swan Lake" appropriately dubbed "Attack Of The Killer Swans". With a power metal backdrop, Joe takes this familiar melody and adds the kind of technical prowess and bravado which has won him such acclaim in the past. "Night Of The Living Shred" is track five and is comletely over the top, bursting with speed runs and arpeggios a million notes a minute and very melodic. "Never Forgotten" showcases Joe's acoustic classical guitar technique before taking the listener's heads off with the heavy "The Sorcerer's Apprentice". I have no idea what "R.B.N.C.S.F.No. II" is an acronym for, but it should stand for "completely insane explosion of fretboard mastery" because that's how it sounds. THE ESSENTIAL SHRED GUITAR COLLECTION comes to a close with "The Devil's Fiddler" which builds atmospherically and dynamically before letting loose a hellish demon dance of neo-classical swagger.
I would definitely recommend this collection to fans of power metal, shred an d neo-classical styles. For an all instrumental compilation, there is enough variety on display to consistently shake things up and continue to sound fresh. I also think Joe Stump works best as a solo artist rather than an accompaniment in other bands and this kind of collection further showcases what the man is all about.