Cacophony


Speed Metal Symphony

Cacophony - Speed Metal Symphony ©1986 Shrapnel
1. Savage
2. Where My Fortune Lies
3. The Ninja
4. Concerto
5. Burn The Ground
6. Desert Island
7. Speed Metal Symphony

This album represents some of the worst of what fast metal was about in 1987. The song structures are basic, the singer's faux aggressive vocals are laughably grotesque, the lyrics sound as if they were written by a retarded gorilla on a drinking binge ("I'm a winner, you're a loser, this is your final chance"), and the production is absolutely atrocious.

But amidst the very, very bad music lie the most over-the-top, technical, melodic, fast, exciting, exotic guitar leads ever recorded, with layers upon layers of ultra-fast harmonized arpeggios, very long single-note runs played at lightning speed, and dual melodic lines displaying Marty Friedman's non-Western leanings. The guitarists play fast almost all the time, and both their absolute speed and the sheer amount of fast playing in each song exceeds everything that had ever been done at the time. It still has not been equalled.

What is remarkable about all that speed is how tasteful the players can be. Contrary to the scads of one-dimensional Yngwie Malmsteen clones that roamed the streets of Hollywood in the 1980s, Friedman and Becker use a variety of exotic modes and scales, their harmonies often eschew tradition (thirds and fifths) for more modern dissonant intervals, and their rhythmic placement is mind-bogglingly impeccable. Vinnie Vincent they definitely aren't.

The two instrumentals ("Speed metal symphony", "Concerto") and the long melodic break in "Ninja" alone make this album absolutely necessary for anybody who enjoys ultra-technical yet tasteful guitar playing.

Review by Rog The Frog Billerey-Mosier

Review date: 06/2001

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Go Off!

Cacophony - Go Off! ©1989 Shrapnel
1. X-Ray Eyes
2. E.S.P.
3. Stranger
4. Go Off!
5. Black Cat
6. Sword Of The Warrior
7. Floating World
8. Images

For some reason, after their debut Speed Metal Symphony, Cacophony started fancying themselves songwriters, turning down the over-the-top guitars and emphasizing "song" over displays of extreme musicianship. They didn't seem to realize that they were tragically unequipped for that endeavor, and the result is an embarrassing collection of bad songs with very little exciting guitar to compensate.

The production is a marked step up from their first release. However, the songs and riffs are a mess, the melodic guitars of yesteryear all too often give way to dissonant noisy breaks, and the utterly incompetent singer still bays like an impotent deer come springtime, reaching uncharted heights of ridicule on the ballad "Floating World".

Owning a copy of this record is only justified by Jason Becker's emotional instrumental "Images" and his current medical condition, which welcomes every royalty penny sent his way.

Review by Rog The Frog Billerey-Mosier

Review date: 06/2001

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