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The Dark Lord Rises
Released: 2015, Lion
How time flies, much like the fingers of Joe Stump! Back in December of 2012 I wrote a long extended ‘love-letter’ review of Joe Stump’s 12th album, RETURN OF THE SHRED LORD. In that review, I explained why I love shred guitar and why Joe is the best shredder ever. The review was over the top and a lot of fun to write.
Stump is back and here we are in December (as of time of writing) to review his 13th studio album, THE DARK LORD RISES. I could basically just rewrite the review for his last album, in fact, you should go read it and just swap the album titles, the albums and the reviews are virtually interchangeable. By this I mean both albums are superb examples of the form. Some people use the word formulaic as some sort of clever insult but have those same critics ever stopped to think, ‘What of the listeners actually LIKES the formula?” I do! I like Coca-Cola and I don’t want them to change the formula either! Is Joe Stump formulaic? Perhaps, on some superficial level but that is an unsophisticated analysis by people who don’t like shred and are too lazy to notice the differences.
In a sense, compared to my last long, gushing review, this is a bit of a non-review. Joe Stump has released another album of blistering shred. The 11-song album runs a generous 67 minutes. There is the usual ‘Strat’ pun (see ‘Stratomaster’), there are the usual super-fast songs about battles and fighting (see ‘Battle Tested’ and ‘Hostile Takeover’) and the usual host of neo-classical references such as ‘Neoclassical Shredfest No. 4. When you look at the menu of a Joe Stump album you know what you are getting, no guessing, no surprises, no weird esoteric nonsense, just shred.
What else can I say? THE DARK LORD RISES has an awesome album cover with a blue flame motif. It has some guest stars, he is still on Lion music, the production is crystal clear all nice little bonuses in the presentation department but really what matters is that Joe plays his heart out for over an hour, blowing everyone away with his amazing virtuosity and I don’t ever want that to change.
1. Hostile Takeover
3. Out for Blood
4. The Black Knight Returns
5. Tortured Soul
6. The Dark Lord's Allegro
7. Staring Into the Abyss
8. Concerto No. 2 in B-Flat Minor
9. Neo-classical Shredfest No. 4
10. Battle Tested
11. Brothers in Shred
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