Record Reviews

Marty Friedman “Drama”

Guitar maestro Marty Friedman shows us, once again, that he is a fabulous string-based storyteller on his new album.

Genre-bending doesn’t even begin to describe what Marty Friedman is as an artist. He has always gone his own way as an artist. He and his guitar have taken turns and walked down paths often far from his metal and rock roots. Early in his career, as we all know, he was a member of several heavy metal bands. For the past quarter of a century, he has focused on his solo career and that isn’t limited by any genre expectations. This explorative journey started with his first few solo albums “Dragon’s Kiss” (1988) and “Scenes” (1992).

Most of Marty’s solo albums and shows have been more or less instrumental. That is also the case with the new album “Drama”. Considering the sounds and emotions Marty can create with his guitar, vocals are not needed. This is string-based storytelling. Put on a pair of quality headphones, turn off the lights, close your eyes and immerse yourself in the world of Marty Friedman. There is a track with vocals, “Dead of Winter”, and we also get a Spanish version of the song called “2 Rebeldes”. The rest of the album is instrumental. My favourite track is “Thrill City”, which has some thrashy parts to it. Yet it is a shiny, happy song. That song also features guest appearances by drummer Chargeeeeee and guitarist Naoki Morioka, both from Marty’s regular Japanese live band.

We get a new version of “Triumph”. That track originally appeared on the “Scenes” album. “Icicle” is another fab track on which Marty uses his guitar as a paintbrush to create a splendid soundscape. The Japanese edition of the album comes with a “guitar karaoke version” of the track “Mirage” (of course it does!). Japanese bassist Wakazaemon has been performing live with Marty in recent years and she plays bass on most of the new album. The album also features American drummer Gregg Bissonette (Ringo Starr, Toto, David Lee Roth, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Mari Hamada) as well as Japanese musicians Mika Maruki (piano, keyboards), Hiyori Okuda (cello) and Miho Chigyo (violin).

“Drama” is an emotional album for guitar lovers with atmospheric and beautiful orchestration on many songs. The music is rather complex and technical at times and always beautiful. Well done, brother. Keep creating music without borders, Marty.

Marty Friedman’s new album “Drama” is out internationally via Frontiers Music. The Japanese edition will be released via Marquee/Avalon on 22nd May.