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Mike Vescera and Joe Stump's killer power metal act.



Joe Stump: Virtuostic Vendetta

Joe Stump: Virtuostic Vendetta

Instrumental Guitar
Rating: 4.5/5.0

Figuring out what new to write for a review of another instrumental guitar submission is like Elizabeth Taylor's latest husband trying to discover something new to do on the wedding night. This is especially true when it comes to a guitar master like Joe Stump. His pedigree is amazing (eight solo albums, two bands, and metal guitar specialist at Berklee College of Music), his talent is immense, and his technique is practically flawless on this side of the new heavens and the new earth. Either Stump delivers or he doesn't on 'Virtuostic Vendetta,' and the simple answer is he does.

Stump admits his inspiration comes from his first two highly successful and fan favorite albums 'Guitar Dominance' and 'Supersonic Shred Machine.' So, in a sense, Stump is revisiting his past and this album pays tribute to the very legends that inspired him. Yet, 'Virtuostic Vendetta' also shows that he is at the top of his game and certainly not resting on his laurels.

Typically, this album is mostly about shear guitar dominance (to coin a phrase) where the fire and intensity of shred is front and center: Stump is vibrant, passionate, and pretty damn fast. For fans of the pure classical, 'Allegro #2 in A minor' and 'Symphonic Pandemonium' are hands down money winners. A strikingly rich piece reminiscent of Trower and Marino is 'Old School Throwdown,' one of the finest cuts. Before I even read the promo material or considered the song titles, I noticed a Blackmore theme within this disc, and I was right. 'Blackmore's Boogie' rings as true as fine cut crystal and making me wish for the early days of Rainbow. Two other favorites include heavy rocker 'Pistol Whipped' and the clever and stylish 'Strat Sorcery.' However, on the downside, Stump weighs us down with some frightfully tedious moments as on the lengthy shredfest 'The Witching Hour.'

In the end, however, Joe Stump's 'Virtuostic Vendetta' delivers a nearly immaculate work of guitar artistry and fireworks. In an age where the average American rock guitarist couldn't find a solo without it jumping up and biting them in the ass, it's good to know that Stump carries on (and passes on) the fine tradition of guitar virtuosity. Very recommended!
Stump, Joe - Virtuostic Vendetta

2009 Lion Music

This is one axeman who knows how to meld the Bach with the boogie - balancing out neo-classical nimble fingered shredding with swift metallic riffage. Virtuostic Vendetta is a record of technical tunes brought forth from Joe Stump, whose latest album is filled with melodic overtones and the sophisticated trickery that keeps spirit of classic-era Shrapnel releases alive.

Starting out with the Rising Force-ish "Chasing the Dragon," it's melodic speed metal at it's finest infused with symphonic overtones pushing the envelope at times within the intensity factor - and it's this track that sets the tone for the whole record with all of the scales and the riffs coming together to create more than just this record full of 'notes,' per say - the album is far from redundancy; the dark churning riffs of "Pistol Whipped," the Purple-esque groove of the aptly titled "Blackmores Boogie," the full-blown classical requiem of "Symphonic Pandemonium," to the balladry of "The Beacon," to the exotic twanginess of "Start Sorcery," to the full-on metal "Fire and Brimstone" & "The Witching Hour;" Virtuostic Vendetta is one heavy record filled with fluid, diverse tunes.

Played at lightning speed with the utmost precision, the Strat burning guitarist has again executed a record that has soul, shredding to play melodies and not just showing off with bunch of scales; for Stump purveys the art of creating instrumental anthems.

Added: May 3rd 2009
Reviewer: Tommy Hash