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Joe Stump
Armed and Ready
July 2003
Released: 2003, Leviathan Records
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Rick

The man with the blazing fret board is back with another solo disc full of rip snorting shredding mayhem. This CD was actually recorded as part of the Diginet Music Guitar Masters Series but because of how well it turned out it was decided to give it a proper full release. The series takes basic backing tracks of bass and drums and lets the guitar players interpret the piece as they see it in their minds eye. This leads to some interesting interpretations and truly shows how differently many composers approach their work. Joe Stump is truly one of the great guitar players in metal today and it is interesting to see his take on the Diginet backing tracks,

The disc opens with the ripper “Mind Games”. Stump wastes no time in getting right to the shredding. This is what the guy is known for after all. Guitar One magazine has even voted him one of the 10 best shredders of all time. “Day of Doom” slows Stump down but he shows on this track that he can do more than just shred his guitar to pieces. His playing is tasteful and well constructed and even the slow backing track cannot conceal his aggressive tendencies. Other players in this series have used this track to create a more blues based laid-back feel but Stump still goes for the throat. A perfect example of the difference that 2 players can see in a song when they play is the track “Hurricane X”. The Michael Harris version of this song is a jazzy tune that is relatively subdued while Stump again goes for the jugular while throwing in, what he calls, The Blackmore Shuffle. It is hard to believe that it’s the same rhythm section on both songs. That is the strength of the Diginet Music Guitar Master Series; two players can take the same rhythm tracks and come up with 2 radically different sounding visions of that song. One of the highlights of CD is the title track. Stump goes for a bluesy groovy feel ala Gary Moore which fits perfectly with the backing track and is a fitting dedication to one of Stump’s major influences…

Joe Stump is one of the few instrumental players that I can listen to and feel that he doesn’t need a vocalist. His guitar playing provides the focal point that the vocalist would take and conveys the same message without singing a word. What is more extraordinary is the fact that many of these songs are first takes. If you are a fan of excellent guitar playing then check out this CD.
Track Listing

01. Mind Games
02. Prisoner of Time
03. Day of Doom
04. Hurricane X
05. Chasing Rainbows
06. Armed and Ready
07. Hot Nights
08. Destination


Joe Stump: guitar
Mike Haid: drums
David Chastain: bass
Kensuke Itoh: keyboards




Next review: » Joe Stump - Revenge Of The Shredlord
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