ALEX MASI


"In the Name of Bach" (Lion Music / Alex Masi Music; 1999)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Italian guitarist Alex Masi caught my eye quite a few years ago when I read about him in the pages of various magazines while he was getting all kinds of press for his classic (and solo debut) album "Attack Of The Neon Shark." Even despite the press and the 14 years since its release I've never actually heard Alex Masi's artistry as a guitarist. And wouldn’t fate have it that I'd hear Alex Masi not as a guitar god, but rather as an interpreter of classical music.

The concept here on "In The Name Of Bach" is to take the violin and keyboard pieces composed by the world-renowned classical composer Johann Sebastian Bach and apply it to the electric guitar. Not exactly Rough Edge territory is it? Well, I believe one of the reasons I keep living on this veil of tears known as Earth is to continually seek out great guitar players and tell others about it. "In The Name Of Bach" affords me the opportunity to tell the world about Alex Masi.

The beauty of classical music is that it transcends modern genre classification. Classical music is practically universal in its influence and certainly has never lost its place in musical world. That kind of universality shines though like a thousand suns on "In The Name Of Bach."

More often than not on "In The Name Of Bach" Alex Masi lets the understated nature of classical music reveal itself through its sheer complexity. What I have enjoyed about classical music throughout my life is how the music literally sounds like it is going in two directions at once. The 'bass' lines are going in one direction while the 'soprano' lines are going in another. This ain't pop music we're talking about.

More than 90% of the time, Masi treats the pieces with traditional respect and the sound does not stray too far from the calm and serene nature of classical music. Occasionally, Alex Masi turns up the distortion knob and rips through a violin piece with disciplined abandon on pieces that demand it (i.e. the up-tempo violin selections). 

Just about everyone reading this will forget about this review and Alex Masi about ninety seconds after reading it. However, those of you who gain delight from exploring the far reaches of everything that music has to offer, then Alex Masi's "In The Name Of Bach" would be an interesting, albeit underplayed, part of your collection.

Alex Masi performed all the music on "In The Name Of Bach." Masi served as producer and engineer and Doug Marks (yes, the Metal Method guy) digitally transferred the music.

For more information visit http://www.alexmasi.net. 


"Vertical Invader" (Metal Blade; 1990)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

Alex Masi is an Italian guitarist who opens the floodgates of shreddom and shoots lighting from his fingertips on "Vertical Invader." There are a few tracks here that are Yngwie Malmsteen-inspired and some that are straight forward rock'n'roll. Masi tried to stay unpredictable on this CD and he did just that. He plays with passion and shows off all of his guitar trick as well.

Having cut his teeth on classical music (his parents would play Bach while he was in his crib), he found a love of classical music and, even during the time when shredding was unpopular, he kept playing and never changed direction.

"Vertical Invader" was released during the classical/shred era and can be placed on the top of the large stack of all the other axe slingers during that time. It holds its own even after all these years. It’s a full on instrumental barrage.

Performing on "Vertical Invader" are Alex Masi – guitars, bass and keyboards; John MaCaLuso – drums; Dave Sumner – bass guitar on “Rock Of Changes.”

For more information visit http://www.alexmasi.net. 


Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Copyright © 2007 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 15 Mar 2017 23:33:43 -0500.