"Curt Shaw" (CDS Records; 2005)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

I first heard Curt Shaw way back in 2000 when he was the guitarist in the (essentially) death metal band Kryptic – Kryptic was based near my hometown right here in the Baltimore area. I wasn’t too enamored with death metal back then – but I appreciate the genre a whole lot more a half-decade later. Regardless, I had consequently passed a Kryptic CD along to another Rough Edge staffer for a proper review who thought it to be a bit more varied than I did.

Curt Shaw’s self-titled debut is guitar shredding for the sake of guitar shredding – this is not a bad thing, but it’s not for everybody. This disc has a lot in common with early era CDs by the likes of Vinnie Moore and Tony MacAlpine. So what you get is a constant flood of notes raining down like sharp nails – very sharp nails. If I had to pick a comparison I’d say Curt Shaw sounds like Tony MacAlpine without the overwhelming neo-classical flourish or occasional piano piece.

“Curt Shaw” contains twelve tracks (really 11 songs with one of the songs being broken up into two parts). The pacing and styling are varied enough throughout the disc so the listener is not likely to lose interest. The tracks are a group of taut rockers, quasi-epic journeys, and combined multi-influence songs that are well constructed and (most importantly) fun to listen to. The songs echo, but do not outright mimic, the shredding greats from the past.

In the end I’d guess one might easily compare “Curt Shaw” to some of James Murphy’s best instrumental work. “Curt Shaw” won’t be for everybody, but in an age when aging shred-heads like me are looking for a newer six-string shredder it’ll be nice to know that this particular disc is not more than an arm's length away for a quick trip back in time.

“Curt Shaw” was produced by Curt Shaw.

Curt Shaw plays all guitars, bass, and keyboards and is joined by Nick Prysianzy on drums. Wayne Barry contributes keyboards and one guitar solo.

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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 © 2006 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 11 Sep 2022 13:46:20 -0400.