IceWarrior Records/Rock It Up (2012)
Italian neo-classical power metal guitarist Tommy Vitaly returns with his second solo album “Hanging Rock”- featuring some of the best vocalists in the melodic/power metal world. You think I’m kidding? How about Mats Leven, Carsten Schulz, Todd LaTorre, Michele Luppi, Zak Stevens, and David Defeis appearing on the seven vocal tracks? Then you have the guest keyboard solo work of Ferdy Doernberg on two tracks, and supplementary guitar solo work from David Shankle and Norifumi Shima.
Again this wouldn’t amount to a hill of beans if Tommy’s ability didn’t shine through- and this is a potent release for those who miss classic Yngwie Malmsteen, Stratovarius, and neo-classical shredding as the foundation. Most of the songs float between power metal anthems like the Rainbow-ish “Betrayer” and more traditional “Heavy Metal God” to the expected arpeggio-fueled “Hands Of Time” or somber, emotional instrumental ballad “Misanthropy”. As far as songwriting Tommy also knows how to put the right vocalist in the ideal spot to extract the best performance- Zak Stevens for instance on “Icewarrior” delivers a song that may start off sparse but kicks into gear much like his best work with Savatage.
9 songs and 39 minutes that doesn’t drain the listener- “Hanging Rock” tows the line between flashy musicianship and killer melodies/hooks necessary to keep the average listener returning time and again. Tommy may not need to return to a band environment anytime soon (his involvement with Seven Gates ended in 2010) based on this work if he desires to establish a solo career.
Rating: 4 / 6
Composed by Matt Coe