Three years removed from his triumphant Inferno album, Marty Friedman returns once again with new disc Wall of Sound (out now, Prosthetic Records). I had the privilege of checking out opening night of this tour here in Philly earlier this week, and the new songs sounded fucking amazing. But that’s another story for another day. In the meantime, let’s talk more about this record. Those of you who loved the last one are guaranteed to feel the same way about this one, no question. The shred is there in spades, but so is the all-important combo of melody and punch, making for a record that never lags and keeps you wondering what’s next.
The starter’s gun fires with a potent one-two of “Self Pollution” and “Sorrow and Madness,” the latter featuring a very nice guest appearance from Jinxx of BLACK VEIL BRIDES on violin. The melody that the two of them came up with is full of twists and turns. The fact that I am actually praising someone in that horrible band should tell you just how good this track is. One of my absolute favorites from the opening strains is “Streetlight.” It starts out very calm and serene then everyone comes in and goes nuts. And by everyone I mean Anup Sastry on drums (who played on the tour opener), the always fantastic Kiyoshi on bass, and Marty himself. The main guitar melody will stay with you long after the song has ended, trust me.
New single “Whiteworm” employs some progressive rock elements without getting all wanky, and live the other night it fucking ripped, so many of you have that to look forward to in a live setting. “For a Friend” slows things down while Friedman does some of his more anthemic and fluid soloing. I wasn’t sure how “Pussy Ghost” (ft. Shiv Mehra of DEAFHEAVEN) would sound since I’m not really a fan of that band, but I am happy to report that the collaboration turned out well, and manages to be both dark and catchy at the same time. “The Blackest Rose” was another one I loved from jump. Marty has this ability to come up with these melodies that just resonate with me and demand repeat listens, like this one did.
The third and final guest appearance and only vocal performance comes from Jorgen Munkeby of SHINING on “Something to Fight.” Again, I’ve never listened to these guys, but I sure as Hell will now. This song is a bad bitch! “The Soldier” features more haunting melodies with a bowed instrument that complement the decidedly Asian feel of the track. From here we step into another of my favorites with “Miracle.” This is the one I hit REPEAT on most. It’s just a thing of beauty and I love every glorious second of it. Equal parts serenade and march, it is perfection from the first note to the last with awesome piano work. And Gods, that guitar solo!!
Closer “The Last Lament” clocks in at nearly seven minutes and is definitely a journey from one place to the next, almost a musical rollercoaster. Kiyoshi gets to shine here, too. When all’s said and done Marty Friedman and his bandmates have done it once again. Wall of Sound is a stunner of an album that has nary a dull moment and will keep you guessing from one track to the next. 13 albums into his career I don’t understand how Friedman continues to come up with new, innovative, and fresh ways to deliver his musical message without things ever getting stale or tired. I don’t understand it, but I’m certainly grateful for it! Pick yours up today. You’ll thank me.
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM