Chris Impellitteri is heralded as one of the world’s greatest guitar shredders, having been voted 2nd fastest guitarist in the world by ‘Guitar One’ magazine (2003), followed by Yngwie Malmsteen as the 3rd fastest shredder. Also ‘Guitar World’ magazine listed Chris within their top 50 fastest guitarists of all time (2008).
Chris Impellitteri formed Impellitteri back in 1987 and Rob Rock’s main stint as vocalist was from 1992 to 2000. Rob then pursued a successful solo career with five albums, before returning to Impellitteri for ‘Wicked Maiden’ (2009). The reason for the long wait before releasing another album is that Chris has been tied up with Animetal, which turned out to be highly successful side project. Impellitteri’s main drummer, Glen Sobel, had been enticed to play with Alice Cooper (and who could blame him for taking up that opportunity!). So the tenth Impellitteri album ‘Venom’ (2015) introduces drummer Jon Dette (ex-Testament, Slayer) to the fold.
Frontiers Music is releasing ‘Venom’ on April 17th in Europe and April 21st in North America. Their press release states “Impellitteri had one vision when creating the music for Venom, which was to create a record that would excite and musically satisfy every metal fan, rock fan, and musician around the world. To add to their quest, they also wanted to create music that would take the listener on a musical journey thru different time periods of metal and rock. Ultimately, the band wanted to make music that would please both a hard-core metal fan and discriminating musician, whilst also sonically pleasing human beings that are usually turned off from metal due to the lack of melody, especially women! Whether the band has achieved this will be up to the listener.”
There is no messing about with intro tracks as they start off full tilt as Rob Rock’s voice soars “VENOM”. This is not just a vehicle for lightning guitar solos as the whole structure of the song is held together by strong riffing underpinned by solid bass lines. “Poison and metal runs through your veins / Why can’t you just walk away”. Having added Jon Dette as drummer, there is no problem with percussive power and speed, which allows Chris Impellitteri to shred with impunity. This is incendiary metal with sparks flying off!
‘Empire Of Lies’ keeps up the tempo as it tackles the fall of Caesar and the Roman Empire’s collapse. Then ‘We Own The Night’ takes it back to hard-charging classic metal that is somewhere in the late eighties or early nineties of Hollywood Boulevard. There is a darker mood as you head into ‘Nightmare’ with its squalling riffs and gruffer vocals. And there is good use of vocal harmonies in the chorus sections.
The tempo eases up for the more melodic groove of ‘Face The Enemy” as it heads into hard rock territory. But not for long as its back to dense riffage on ‘Domino Theory’. Whilst ‘Jehova’ has choppy riffing and definitely feels like the whole band had an equal hand in writing it. Also it does see Rob Rock’s vocals soar to the heavens. It is followed by a classic hard rock track in ‘Rise’.
There is a more memorable tune to ‘Time Machine’ as they take a nostalgic look back at the music that has stood the test of time. ‘Holding On’ takes melodic metal sentiment as it declares “I will sail across the sea / I would climb the highest mountain / If it brings you back to me”. Frontiers will be issuing this with another two bonus tracks.
In case you were wondering, it was recorded in the same studio as Slash’s last album and Greg Reely’s production is superb.
Reviewed by Peter John Willoughby
02. Empire Of Lies
03. We Own The Night
05. Face The Enemy
06. Dominoe Theory
09. Time Machine
10. Holding On
11. Rock Through The Night (bonus track)
12. Reach For the Sky (bonus track)
Chris Impellitteri – Lead Guitar
Rob Rock – Lead Vocals
James Pulli – Bass
Jon Dette – Drums
Produced by: Impellitteri and Greg Reely
Record Label: Frontiers Records, April 2015
Video below ‘Venom’
Video below “Venom” (Album Teaser)