Impellitteri - System X
The string-bending guitarvirtouse Chris Impellitteri has come out of the studio and his newest album System X is what it's resulted in. And after 14 years (Stand in Line album)Impellitteri has once again joined forces with vocalist extraordinaire, Graham Bonnet (Ex Rainbow, ex Alcatraz). That means that Chris and Rob Rock have parted after years of succesful partnership but his replacement isn't half bad either!
System X is exactly what we can expect from Chris Impellitteri: Pretty basic and back to the roots heavy metal/hard rock but still top quality. The sound of System X is very similar to that of Rainbows and especially the albums after the DIO-era. This doesn't only mean that it's Graham Bonnet's vocals that provide these resemblances, although he sings much rawer and harscher than what he did on Down to Earth. The similarities are also due to Impellitteri's guitars and the build-up and orchestrations of the songs since they are closer to Rainbow than anything else. It's heavier and faster and contains less keys than Blackbore's former bunch, but if you don't hear the likenesses, you definitely need a hearing-aid...
Some might say that the guitars are the main benefits of the album and that the instrumental preformance is better than the songs themselves but I must say that it's Graham that's the beacon shining in the night. What a performance! Of course those of you who are familiar with his previous doings might guess what's going on here. He has previously worked with supermen like Ritchie Blackmore, Steve Vai and Yngwie Malmsteen just to mention a few and that alone should speak for itself.
Productionwise the result is good, but that the vocals and guitars are in main focus becomes very obvious beacause there's certainly more to wish for in the drumming section. The guitars are well fat enough and a little more backing from a heavier drumsound should be in place. I also wonder a bit why a suberb guitarist like Impellitteri doesn't take more advantage of his debated and recognized skills. Ok - his performance is extremely good and some riffing, leading and above all solos really make the sparks fly around, but sometimes it still feels a bit like he's holding back or something. There's certainly room for more elaborating and when dealing with a a guitarist of this magnitude one could certainly wish for some even more proof of skill. With all deference to simplicity and basic metal, please give us more next time.
Despite these minor flaws System X ends up somewhere in the very good area and what really raises the grade is Graham Bonnet. He sings, he roars, he rules! Purchase or not is as usual optional people, but I am of the opinion that if metal is your favourite dish, Impellitteri must end up on your plates. This is a metal treasure and an X definitely marks the spot!