Impellitteri - Pedal To The Metal
Chris Impellitteri has made himself a name in the guitar scene, has been appearing on the frontpage of various important guitar magazines worlwide, and has since 1987 been releasing several good albums with various backing members. Now he is back with yet another album of straight on heavy metal. The previous albums have been dwelling somewhere in the more "melodic heavy rock/metal" area, but with this you will notice a significant difference. It's way rawer, heavier and much more powerful, according to normal Impellitteri standards, but without losing what he already has as a foundation.
Fundamentally it is the same style of guitar based metal as before, but with a more direct, rawer and heavier approach than before. A lot of the songs contain new and experimental elements such as chugga chugga riffs, distorted vocals and even pure hardcore riffs, that sometimes are very brutal and aggressive. Still he is very careful to step aside from his melodic metal trademark, so every song has a core of melodic rock in itself and they all have great choruses and harmonic solos. You will hear very clearly that it's Impellitteri, since he is keeping his winning concept, but just adding to it and creating a much more richer soundpicture than he has ever had before.
One of the best songs is Crushing Daze, where everything is taken to the extreme. Bone crushing and heavy riffs as hell, almost hardcore vocals, all building up to a very traditional, ordinary rock chorus with clean vocals. I can promise that you did not know Impellitteri could be this heavy. All to be back in a great pumping, typical Impellitteri-riff in the next song, with a 80's verse and chorus to it, flirting with Rainbow. Great contrasts, and make it an album that keep the interest up and grows on you.
Curtis Skelton, formerly of US nu-metal act Speak No Evil, steps in as new vocalist replacing Graham Bonnet, and even though I was of the opinion that they were on the right track with Bonnet on the last album, I have to say that this time it's jackpot. Skelton sings great, and brings new life into Impellitteri's music. The refrains are strong on this album, and sung by Skelton they really hit it off. Where the music before might have been a bit "light" and easy, it is much more mature and confident this time. A lot of the modern elements that can be heard on the album might have their origin in Skeltons past, but it works very well, just adding new depth and pondus to the music. Excactly what it has needed up til now. On the album is even to be found one rap song, but take no serious notice of that fact, since it's mainly making fun of the current metal/rap scene with Eminem and the likes. Still an awesome song, though.
The production is fat and clear, and finally it brings out the best in Impellitteri's guitar play. That has previously been a factor that I have not been satisfied with, but here there is nothing at all to complain about. The album keeps a high level all the way through up to the finish with solid songs, but it perhaps lacks that immediate hit to increase the grades. Nevertheless a great melodic metal album. Old fans, like me, are going to love this and they should win quite a few with this also.