TOMMY VITALY – Hanging Rock (2012)
“Hanging Rock” is the new album by Italian born guitarist TOMMY VITALY, a virtuoso six-string player who has been gaining a strong reputation in Rock community.
A prove of that is the presence of some well known names appearing in this recording contributing on lead vocals and instrumentation.
“Hanging Rock” is definitely an ’80s American metal album with a neoclassical flair at times. Wait, was this released in 1986 or 2012? This album just oozes with that good old feeling of nostalgia.
It’s not ripped off music from a bygone era or even rehashed riffs that have been done million times, but in “Hanging Rock” we have clear influences from artists like Impelliteri or the first Yngwie Malmsteen to name a few.
Vitaly’s technical ability of super-speed alternative picking, sweeping, tapping and legato use has made his soloing as powerful as some of the best guitarists on the planet today. However, this album is more song focused than a ‘guitar hero’ recording.
The singers guest list is truly impressive; powerhouse vocalist Mats Leven (Yngwie, Treat, Obsession), Carsten ‘Lizard’ Schulz (Evidence One, Domain), Todd LaTorre (new version of Queensryche), Zak Stevens (Circle II Circle, ex- Savatage), the great Michele Luppi and veteran David DeFeis from cult metallers Virgin Steele.
Upon entering the album with “Betrayed” we are given high octane riffs with harmonic melody vocals panned between left and right, courtesy of shouter Mats Leven. The guitar riff are patent ’80s style, while the solo is plenty of diminished arpeggio sweeps, speed picking and scale runs.
Next, “Run with the Devil” is one of the best tracks, again with an eighties spirit yet more modern arrangements. Singer Carsten ‘Lizard’ Schulz are in service for this and his vocals are absolutely brilliant for this type of song.
Come to “Hands of Time” we have Todd La Torre scream the high and low tunes for us, also a very strong uptempo metal track that is, until “Forever Lost”, where David Defeis of Virgin Steele contributed his magic voice in this acoustic ballad.
“Idol” starts with an almost Adrian Smith signature lick only slightly modified to take you away from it. The song is powerful and somehow catchy with lots of backing vocals and Michele Luppi taking the melodic leads. Tommy also invited guitarist Norifumi Shima who is dueling with key-wiz Ferdy Doernberg here in a nice counterpoint.
Although song-oriented, the album includes two intrumentals; “Misanthropy” and “Hanging Rock”. The first includes a beautiful Spanish guitar and finger picking mixed with harpsichord and super-effective echo based slide soloing. For an instrumental track this is by far the most expressive track on the album.
Title track “Hanging Rock” is more uptempo featuring such an inventive array of sounds and effects from the Harmonizer to the Octavier, with a melody line which was in my head for days.
Last track “Icewarrior” starts slowly as a piano ballad, and then explodes into a melodic classic metal with loads of technical intricacies, great use of drums, and finally the solid vocals of Zak Stevens.
Tommy Vitaly’s “Hanging Rock” is an excellent piece of ’80s tinged American metal / hard.
The guest singers are what should draw most listeners into checking this out, but the solid songwriting and the skillful musicianship will surprise you as well.
Vitaly shows some pretty awesome chops with the solos and his precise riffing. None of the solos are too over the top or take away from the traditional and hard bluesy feel of the album. The keyboards add an airy feeling to the music without sounding too majestic, while the rhythm section provides a solid foundation.
The production on “Hanging Rock” is excellent and everything fits perfectly into place, really well mixed and mastered.
Keep an eye out for Vitaly as he is on his way up to becoming a much appreciated guitar hero among guitar players and music lovers alike.
01 – Betrayer (Mats Leven)
02 – Run with the Devil (Carsten Schulz)
03 – Hands of Time (Todd LaTorre)
04 – Forever Lost (David Defeis)
05 – Idol (Michele Luppi)
06 – Misanthropy
07 – Heavy Metal God (Carsten Schulz)
08 – Hanging Rock
09 – Icewarrior (Zak Stevens)
Tommy Vitaly – guitars, keyboards
Andrea Torricini – bass
Rhino – drums
Special guest solos:
Norifumi Shima (Concerto Moon) – track 5
David Shankle (DSG, ex-Mamowar) – track 7
Ferdy Doernberg (Axel Rudi Pell) – tracks 5 & 8
Mats Leven on track 1
Carsten “Lizard” Schulz on tracks 2 & 7
Todd LaTorre on track 3
David Defeis on track 4
Michele Luppi on track 5
Zak Stevens on track 9
BUY IT !