Arguably most famous for being Madonna’s long time guitar player, sharing both the stage and writing credits with the superstar, Monte Pittman is now releasing his third solo album.
Despite my disappointment that this isn’t called Monte Pittman’s Flying Circus (though Google tells me I’m not the first to come up with that oh so witty joke), The Power Of Three is still more than worth some attention.
His background with Madonna, Prong and a small host of other artists has given Pittman a varied wealth of material and influences to use while writing and recording his own music.
The stabbing riffs and soaring choruses of Everything’s Undone have an almost poppy element to them; there are times over this album where you can hear the pop influence strongly and can picture these songs in an arena setting, albeit performed much more gently.
Then in complete contrast to this there are tracks like A Dark Horse which would only be heard in an arena if they were played by Metallica or a band supporting Metallica. The solid full speed thrash riff alternates with a grungey groove laden verse beautifully. An Eastern lick in the solo once again exposes Pittman’s varied musical basis.
There are also tracks like Blood Hungry Thirst which mixes that poppy element with a solid riff. This poppy (I need to stop saying poppy) metal is an excellent sound, reminiscent of Devin Townsend but not so madcap, it makes you drum your feet and then lodges itself in your head all day.
It’s this mix that makes this album so good. If it was purely the heavy groove stuff I half feel it would grow a bit stale halfway in, making for a strong EP but poor album.
The strongest track in my eyes (or is that ears), is Delusions of Grandeur. Clean vocals over music that sounds more at home with raspier vocals is a nice touch. This time the solo takes on a much more neo-classical approach. I say this a lot with metal albums, but any album that mixes up its solos is already a bit of a winner in my eyes. Only shred or only classic rock solos grows old, but when you mix speed, other cultures and effects together as Pittman has it creates something altogether more interesting.
The idea of variety has been fairly solid through this review, All Is Fair In Love and War is the greatest example of this of all. That’s all I have to say on that song, apart from that it’s fucking outstanding. It’s got a bit of everything and I don’t want to spoil it by writing it all down.
Production is wonderful, but that is a given considering it was handled by Flemming Rasmussen who many of you will know as the man behind Metallica’s Master of Puppets.
I highly recommend this album, even if it’s just to sit and deconstruct the musical jigsaw to find where all the influences come from. It’s a nicely varied album with a little bit for everyone (everyone who likes rock anyway).
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