I guess Chris Impellitteri’s name came to many people’s attention back in 1988 with the Stand In Line album, noted for the appearance of Graham Bonnet on vocals and the covers of ‘Since You’ve Been Gone’ and ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’… a clue to his influences perhaps? It also had a quote in the liner notes (on the vinyl at least) from Chris saying “I promise that my guitar solos will only get faster”. So if you’re a shred fan, this can only be a good thing; however if you are a fan of skill over speed, what does this mean on Impellitteri’s latest album?
Well, The Nature Of The Beast is his eleventh album and consists of ten original tracks and two covers… one of which will split opinion as soon as it is realised that ’Symptom Of The Universe’ is indeed a Black Sabbath cover. Let’s deal with that… the riff is sacrosanct and is preserved while Chris widdles at every other opportunity and Rob does a damn good job of the vocals. Actually, it is a pretty good version if you can accept the lack of Iommi and the gods knows how many notes per second solo. The other cover is a speed metal version of ‘Phantom Of The Opera’. The instruments keep with the essential melody of the original in the background while Chris contributes some of the wildest widdling in the west! Rob does make a good go of becoming a metal version of Michael Crawford (and I never thought I’d ever type that!). ‘Do You Think I’m Mad’ has a great intro before it speeds up again and delivers a quality chunk of heavy rock.
The originals are, as expected, mainly vehicles for his undoubted guitar skills with the band providing solid, frenetic support. ‘Run For You Life’ is sped up Iron Maiden in its feel. ‘Wonder World’ has more of a Sabbath edge, ‘Man Of War’ is one of the best as it isn’t quite so frantic and is more of a traditional heavy rock song.
In summary then, this one for the lovers of shred and love it they will…it even makes Malmsteen sound sedate. For me, however, a whole album is a little too much in one sitting although each track is, on its own, more than worth listening to. It is a skillful and skillfully put together album of a shred fest.