When a guitarist writes, performs, and engineers his own solo album, you can be pretty damn sure you’re going to get one hell of an axe-slinging album. Such is the case for Music For Speeding, Marty Friedman’s latest solo album.
The ex-Megadeth six-string slinger wastes little time kicking off the album, opening the disc with “Gimmie a Dose,” which does exactly that. My initial impression was, this is the kind of music you used to hear in the background of all those “extreme sports” shows before nu-metal came along. Blazingly fast guitar licks, million-note-per-second guitar solos, and catchy grooves — maybe the next generation of surf music?
While a couple of the tracks wink at Megadeth style riffage, any hint of main man Dave Mustaine has been replaced by guitar solos, front and center. The guitars are usually doing at least two different things at any given time, occasionally three. The riffs and leads remain interesting enough to carry the album — a tough feat to do on a disc with thirteen tracks and no vocals. And not only are they interesting, but they flow. The tracks seem like songs, not just an endless chain of solos.
With all the focus on guitars, I expected a fairly generic drum line. Fortunately I was very pleasantly surprised. Except for the few moments where the album flips into some alternate drum machine/video game influenced universe (“Cheer Girl Rampage” and “Nastymachine” in particular), the drums are as aggressive as the guitars are. Don’t expect any Bonham-esque solos, but the skinwork as a hole is more than average.
On slow tempo songs like “Lust For Life” and “Lovesorrow,” Friedman shows a different side of his talent. Those who are more impressed by musical compositions than smoking fret pounders will appreciate the effort. For the rest of us though, tracks like “Ripped”, “Catfight”, and “Fuel Injection Stingray” rock, rock fast, and rock hard.
Friedman’s guitar style could be compared to Slash’s or Buckethead’s. Every song on the disc is an example on how to shred and use the instrument to its fullest, whether it’s pouring out sadness like in “Corazon De Santiago”, or aggression like in “Salt in the Wound.” This album is the reason I slam solo discs like Dave Navarro’s and Tommy Lee’s. Playing guitars is what Marty Friedman does best, and on Music For Speeding, he proves it.
01. Gimme A Dose
02. Fuel Injection Stingray
04. Its The Unreal Thing
05. Cheer Girl Rampage
06. Lust For Life
10. Corazon de Santiago
12. Salt In The Wound
13. Novocaine Kiss