The press release for MONTE PITTMAN’S new album Inverted Grasp of Balance (out now, Metal Blade Records) says that it picks up right from where his last album The Power of Three left off. That was actually my first introduction to the man’s music, and one hell of a metal album. And while I agree with the press release’s sentiment, I will go one further and say that this record not only picks up, it RUNS full throttle into the end zone again and again. Across twelve tracks he and his band of merry men, including CHARRED WALLS OF THE DAMNED drummer Richard Christy and Billy Sheehan (bass on several tunes) from THE WINERY DOGS explore heavier, faster territory this time around. And Jay Ruston’s production is top notch as always.
With songs like “Pride Comes Before the Fall”, opener “Panic Attack”, and “Arisen In Broad Daylight” you can feel the intensity is cranked up. Also, Pittman’s voice is better than last time around. It sounds stronger and has a bit more range. On top of that, the riffage is fucking SAVAGE! “Guilty Pleasure” has a beginning that one might expect to find on an old school extreme metal record and it has blast beats and some slowed down parts. “The Times Are Changing” rocks back and forth on a pendulum swing, and again the guitars damn near a burn a hole right through you.
One of the deepest, darkest, nastiest tones and riffs shows up in “Double Edged Sword” which segues into the 1:37 acoustic instrumental “Cadabra”. The bass intro to “California” has simply got to be Sheehan because it just sounds like the unique type of thing only he can coax from his instrument. Shades of Pittman’s old band PRONG rear their heads on “Be Very Afraid” and on “Obliterated”, another instrumental, he just might have one of the best songs he’s ever written on his hands. This was one I revisited…a LOT. The award for Catchiest Tune on the Disc definitely goes to “Skeleton Key”. It’s so good it’s downright criminal, and a surefire album standout.
But as great as both of those tracks are, the one that totally blew my mind and stole my heart was “New Blood Keeps Us Alive.” Pittman’s voice is pained and longing over an acoustic guitar and a crackling fire, and the lyrics are a thing of beauty. I guarantee if you really and truly listen to them they will hit you squarely in the chest. At roughly 2:50 the song goes full electric, but the transition is smooth and loses none of the magic. Again, the words transcend whatever the music is or isn’t doing, which is the true mark of a great song. All in all Inverted Grasp of Balance is an outstanding record, and one I have no problems recommending to everyone and everyone. MONTE PITTMAN really gave us a winner here, so go get it…NOW.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “New Blood Keeps Us Alive”, “Skeleton Key”, “Obliterated”, “Arisen In Broad Daylight”, “The Times Are Changing”, “Pride Comes Before the Fall”