Marty Friedman – Inferno (Prosthetic)

Wednesday, 14th May 2014
Rating: 8/10

Long overdue for a re-entrance into the American market, ex-Megadeth lead guitarist Marty Friedman has swung for the fences – and connected – with Inferno, his 12th solo album. In earnest, the approach was to appeal to the metal crowd, who (like they do for everyone who has jumped the metal ship) wanted something of heaviness and technicality from the perpetually curly-haired axe-man. They’ll get it here, and much more, like guest vocal pop-ups from Danko Jones, the sax dude from Shining, Revocation’s Dave Davidson, and Children of Bodom’s Alexi Laiho. And sure, these gents are nice to have on record, but, Friedman’s unorthodox and ever-stylized playing is the real draw.

Sequenced where four consecutive bombastic, face-shredders lead off the album, Inferno starts to gain traction via “I Can’t Relax,” which features the above-mentioned Jones. Jones has always fared well on metal album guest spots (see: Annihilator, etc.) and proceeds to do the same here, on a song with perhaps the most regular bounce and “swagger” (if you will) on the album. “Meat Hook” (featuring Shining main dude Jorgen Munkeby on the sax) is capable, if not for the distracting sounds of Munkeby’s sax. The upward push of “Hyper Doom” is the album’s most enjoyable instrumental cut, with Friedman brandishing those dexterous rhythms ala the old days.

Revocation man Davidson is his usual pissy and throaty self on “Sociopaths,” emerging as a surprisingly extreme and angular cut with the catchy chorus, while Laiho adds little to “Lycanthrope,” suggesting that again, vocals are far and away the most disposable element of Bodom. A co-writing credit with Friedman’s former running mate Jason Becker is a nice touch to an album that should work dividends for Friedman in this market. Unfortunately, there are those whose last impression of the man stem from the disaster that was Risk, for which Mustaine always placed blame upon Friedman, yet 15 years after the fact (or not), Friedman has a stellar solo album, and a new lease on life in America. Good for him.

Marty Friedman official site