For a man whose first band, Myra Mains, may not have set the world alight, Monte Pittman has certainly made up for it with his subsequent success in very different areas. His stint in the metal legends Prong, a number of collaborations with various artists and to cap it all he was the guitar player for Madonna. He has released a few albums of both metal and, I guess, what you’d call heavy acoustic over the last couple of years and he’s doing it again.
Pittman has simultaneously released an acoustic album (Better Or Worse), and a seriously metal album, Between The Space. Focusing on the metal album, Pittman delivers a batch of varying melodies and ‘attacks’ on which he plays all of the instruments – he also composed all of the tracks.
Opening with ‘Evidence’, we get a heavy Sabbath-like riff and a clear demonstration of his melodic singing: the bridge shows he can play bass really well too and then the solo is fast but not shred for the sake of it, there is melody here too. ‘Ominous/Hope’ goes a bit alt metal (Helmet spring to mind). The solo is measured, rather than what one might expect from the backing. ‘Changing of the Guard’ has an intro akin to Dio at their best and continues to use that framework with guitar phrasing that is often ingenious. The title track ‘Between The Space’ starts as if thrash were to follow but, yet again, he surprises with melody in the verses and the chorus, cleverly, does what it says… between the spaces, there is harmony and the solo illustrates this further. Pittman goes all gentle on ‘Once Upon A Time’ with a slow guitar chord exercise intro and then develops it into a heavy rock ballad, with a solo to equal the majesty of the rest of the track. On ‘Reverse Magnetism’ he gets a little more aggressive as the solos truly hit a level we can call ‘frenzied’. It’s a bit metal by rote, or by Metallica, and is probably the weakest here…but enjoyable nonetheless. Closing track, ‘Beguiling’ has a great sinister sounding opening melody, with a hint of Diary of a Madman about it.
A strong and varied melodic metal album that is difficult to fault and easy to enjoy. Except for the odd journey across the borders of thrash, fans of Dio and Sabbath will like this one.