Released: 2012, Icewarrior Records
Warning: This CD review contains a ridiculous amount of name-dropping.
I really enjoy projects like this. I chose the word 'project' carefully because Tommy's solo career seems much more like a fun, flexible studio project than a band of brothers united with the goal of touring and making records with a signature sound. HANGING ROCK is all over the place, much more a collection of great songs that showcase the talents of Tommy, his friends and whole pile of guest-stars, as compared to a cohesive album.
The Italians seem to excel at this fun international, all-star project idea; this reminds me of work by Iampieri (Mistheria), Arthur Falcone (Stargazer) Gianluca Ferro (Time Machine) and of course Luca Turilli, all of the above being similar calibre, Italian, all-star projects.
Hell, throw in Arjen Lucassen, (Star One) Tobias Sammet, (Avantasia), Neils Vejlyt (Infinity Overture), Denis Ward (Missa Mercuria) Iris Mavraki (Neverland), Tom Galley (Phenomena), Roger Staffelbach (Angel Of Eden) Lars Eric Mattsson (Book Of Reflections), Michael Voss (Wolfpakk), Amanda Sommervile (Aina) and Heleno Vale (Soulspell) in the comparison pile even though they aren't Italian.
In case you got lost in the dense fog of my indulgent 'Global Power Metal All-Star Band' name-dropping, Tommy Vitaly is the guitarist of Seven Gates, the Italian Power Metal band, and HANGING ROCK is his second solo album. It's a compact record, nine cuts, 40 minutes long, put out by the cool little label, IceWarrior Records. There is at least one guest per song and we will talk about those dudes in a minute.
The rhythm section on this album is the same as his last 2010 solo album called JUST ME, namely Andrea Torricini (Wonderland, Shadows of Steel) on bass and drummer about town, Rhino who you may recall from Angels of Babylon, Burning Starr, Forgotten Realm, Holy Force Holy Hell and a little band called Manowar. Perhaps this trio will evolve into a band.
The guests on this record come fast and furious! Tommy invites the following people by to participate on the record.
-Mats Leven (Yngwie Malmsteen)
-Carsten Schultz (Evidence)
-Todd LaTorre (Crimson Glory)
-David DeFeis (Virgin Steele)
-Michele Luppi (Secret Sphere)
-Norifumi Shima (Concerto Moon)
-Ferdy Doernberg (Axel Rudi Pell)
-David Shankle (Manowar)
-Zak Stevens (Savatage)
By now you have figured out that this thing is so top-heavy on raw talent that it runs the risk of imploding under the sheet weight of its own hyper-awesomeness. HANGING ROCK bombards you with solo after solo after solo, drums, keyboards, guitars and almost every track is belted out by a vocal titan of one description or another.
Every song is fun and sort of tailor made for each participant. For example, the very traditional and chest-thumping anthem called, 'Heavy Metal God' features a blazing guitar solo by Shankle and a testosterone-laden vocal performance by Carsten Schultz. DeFeis shines on the mid-tempo, semi-operatic tune called 'Forever Lost' and of course Vitaly shows his stuff and puts on a master class in acoustic and electric soloing on the instrumental tune, 'Misanthropy'.
I love this stuff and HANGING ROCK typifies the glorious excess of the neoclassical Metal solo project and Tommy Vitaly is one of the best.