TOMMY VITALY – HANGING ROCK

Released 3rd May 2012 on Ice Warrior Records

Second strike from Italian guitarist Tommy Vitaly following up 2010’s rather average Just MeHanging Rock continues the neo-classical power metal tinted theme and sees Tommy team up with a stellar cast including Mats Leven (ex Malmsteen / At Vance), Carsten ‘Lizard’ Schulz (Evidence One) and Zak Stevens (Savatage) not to mention guest guitar solos from Norifumi Shima (Concerto Moon) and David Shankle (DSG) along with a two keyboard solos from Ferdy Doernberg (Axel Rudi Pell), quite a guest list for sure.  That said you all the guests in the world don’t make an album if the material isn’t up to scratch.

Hanging Rock is for all intents and purposes a better album than its predecessor with a more cohesive direction, yet is still let down massively by a weak production which will really hamper your enjoyment.  You get the impression a rough demo was created and then sent to the pressing plant, it kind of sounds like a budget version of Iron Maiden’s most recent awful Kevin Shirley productions i.e. lacking in power and any bite and polish.  Which is a shame as there is some good tracks here, notably in Run With The Devil, Hands Of Time, Idol and the sweet instrumental Misanthropy.

Overall it is an improvement over its predecessor, yet  sadly still lacking the edge to get it anywhere out of average.  Next time hopefully the production issues will be sorted and we will see a proper representation of Mr Vitaly’s work.

Rating – 68%

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TOMMY VITALY – JUST ME

Out now on Ice Warrior Records

Italialian guitarist Tommy Vitaly is perhaps best known for his work with power metal band Seven Gates, yet has stepped out on his own for “Just Me”, a neo-classically inspired slice of metal. Backed up by some impressive names in vocalist Thomas Vikström (Stormwind), drummer Rhino (ex Manowar), bassist Andrea Torricini (ex Vision Divine) and some guest keyboard solos from Vitalij Kuprij (Artension, TSO) and Mistheria (solo, Rob Rock) the omens look good.

Unfortunately the hype suggested by the personnel is never really lived up to. The first thing to hit you is a poor mix which sees clipping on the bass guitar and bass drums and a very narrow sound spectrum. When the guitar is a dominant force like it is in neo-classical metal this has better be good, yet Tommy’s tone lacks harmonic content and depth and is as bland as dry toast.

On the song front vocalist Thomas Vikström screeches his way through the formulaic “Fly High Touch The Sky” which is home to every stock power metal motif in the book and sounds like a bad Helloween cover band truth be told. The other vocal track, “Ready To Die” fares a little better but once again the song writing is generic with a repetitive chorus that never really sells itself and on the whole its nothing special.  The instrumental side of things does fare better with “Storm Of Fire” being Malmsteen-esque in approach and the anthemic “Finally Free” showing off a nice melody. “The Fury” does what it says and is high in energy and showcases that Tommy can play having some nice unison runs with Kuprij.

Overall a fairly average debut, Tommy can play though and hopefully the quality control in production will be higher and the song writing will showcase more originality next time round.

Rating – 60%