|Impellitteri Pedal To The Metal||Victor Japan|
Impellitteri have rotated vocalists over their last three releases – from Rob Rock to the return of original vocalist Graham Bonnet to new kid Curtis Skelton, formerly of US nu-metal act Speak No Evil.|
Impellitteri's talk of styles while recording this and the addition of Skelton could have led one to believe that this was going to be a radical departure from the formula of old.
One feared a John Sykes Nuclear Cowboy type experiment. But fear not, this is Impellitteri all the way, even if it does include a few new tricks – most of which work.
I have been critical of the last few releases – especially System X, which with Bonnet back on board should have rocked my world. For some reason it didn't and I still haven't warmed any further to that album, despite several fans suggesting I should!
But I really dig this release. In fact, having lived with it for a few weeks now, I rate it my second favourite release behind the unbeatable Answer To The Master album.
I really have enjoyed the songs on Pedal To The Metal. They are not much different from what's been delivered before, so one must look at singer Chris Skelton to see what he offers. And that is a fresh and energetic voice – he sings his heart out in traditional metal style, with only the odd deviations into nu-metal territory.
On Crushing Daze he breaks into that "noise" of fully distorted vocals employed by heavier bands, but reality isn't far away – especially when the frantic speed metal of Destruction isn't far behind.
There are plenty of melodies in amongst the flailing guitars and double speed rhythm section. Chris Impellitteri and the rhythm section of James Pulli and Glen Sobel play their hearts out, but vocalist Skelton really delivers.
In fact, listen hard and you could at times swear Eric Martin had gone metal. That's what makes this record for me – powerhouse melodic vocals.
The songs themselves are also very good and all contain enough breathing space to allow hooks and melodies to flourish.
There are some traditional moments that are so straight forward you expect them to be almost too 'simple' for Chris Impellitteri! Just check out the highly enjoyable traditional metal of Hurricane. But then there are also the moments of pure shred-bliss such as on The Writings On The Wall and The Iceman Cometh.
Special mention to the track Punk, which is just fantastic. It's a total piss-take on rap and while it turned my head to start with, the satirical tone of the track and its use of an Eminem melody has me hooked.
I'm also totally sold on Propaganda Mind – this is a great moody metal track with a powerful vocal, using some updated production effects to create the vibe, but then delivering a great chorus.
And Stay Tonight is almost melodic rock – it's great to hear the guys slow things down and strip them back once and awhile.
Add some strong songwriting and a fresh and inspired vocal performance and you end up with an album that might surprise some metal fans. It certainly caught my attention and restored my enthusiasm for an artist I had previously grown a little tired of.
include("f-review.p3"); retrieve("impell-p",0,1); ?>