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(Reviewed 08/12/2001) 
Album Rating: 9 out of 10 
Reviewed by: Marc B. 

Album Review:

Shred heads rejoice. Tony MacAlpine is back and with a vengeance. This is Tony's first solo release since the impossible to find "Violent Machine" album. In recent years, Tony has kept himself quite busy with various projects, ranging from the funk/fusion CAB Project and PLANET X, to sideman roles with ex-Yngwie singer Mark Boals. This time around, Tony concentrates on what he does best. Play his ass off. Utilizing his ultra clean picking technique and impeccable tone to create some real over the top tracks. This type of progressive fusion is something Tony pretty much invented in the heyday of shred in the mid to late eighties. On 'Chromaticity', MacAlpine is joined by the legendary Steve Smith (ex-Journey) on drums, who turns in one of his best performances to date. Bass duties are handled by Barry Sparks, a hyper charged, fleet fingered monster who is best known for his work with Vinnie Moore and Uli Jon Roth. The album opens with the sprawling "Christmas Island" and from the get go, this album is one of the best sounding CD's MacAlpine has ever made. The production is crisp and clear and the mix is fat and punchy. Tony takes liberties with changing his tones often throughout each track. The interplay between these three musicians is top notch, and fans of heavier based progressive music such as Dream Theater and Symphony X, will be astonished at these performances. The album is very well paced with a strong mix of heavier progressive numbers along side such majestic, slower paced numbers like the beautiful "City Beneath the Sea". This is probably one of the best tracks MacAlpine has ever produced, full of chiming guitars and haunting melodic lines. One of the gifts that MacAlpine truly possesses is his ability to conjure emotion and mood often associated with painting pictures with sound. His playing transcends the often plagued instrumental genre, which tends to focus on the amount of notes you play as opposed to what notes you play, with complex arrangements, terrific orchestration and boat loads of passion. Other standout cuts include the slamming 'Digitalis Destructi', 'Avenger' and the progressive mid temp 'Eye of the Soul'. As with all MacAlpine albums, the CD includes a Chopin piano piece which is played by Tony. He is as gifted a pianist as he is a guitarist, and that is saying something!!! If you are looking for a great CD to really perk your ears and make you want to go back to the woodshed and refresh those chops, look no further than 'Chromaticity'.