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Maxxxwell Carlisle
Visions of Speed and Thunder

Company: Indy
Release: 2015
Genre: Neoclassical, shred
Reviewer: Greg Watson

  • Shredheads and guitar lovers

  • Yngwie Malmsteen...Joe Satriani...Steve Vai...all names of well known, well-respected shred guitarists. Well, a new name needs to be added to your list--Maxxxwell Carlisle. Some of you may know him from his current work with Hellion or you may have heard one of his prior solo albums. He also played with Deathriders in 2011. His newest album, "Visions of Speed and Metal", is a clinic of neoclassical/shred guitar work. The opening title track, features Fang VonWrathenstein from Lords of the Trident. It's a ripping track with soaring vocals, drums that will blast you out of your seat, and enough fancy guitar work to impress Eddie Van Halen. As the album progresses though, the vocals take a back seat to the guitar work. If you were expecting a power metal album with minimal guitar, you are going to be severely disappointed. The album highlights Carlisle's ridiculous fretwork and frenetically fast sweep-picking. The two tracks that stood out to me from the album are "Duet for Electric Guitar and Electric Cello in A Minor", which features cellist Tina Guo and the track "Axis Accelerator" which features guitar freak Michael Angelo Batio. The prior track, "Duet" for short, is one of the craziest, insane things I've heard. Guo is highlighted quite a bit throughout but the fact that she's able to match Carlisle to some extent just blew my mind. The speed and precision with which her bow must be moving is just unconscionable and truly amazing to listen to. The track with Batio--"Axix Accelerator"--is just straight-up shredders trading off licks against each other, much like the guys from DragonForce do throughout their songs. Batio and Carlisle make a formidable tandem due to their speed, sound and precision. The whole album kind of grates on you after a while as it is just guitar solo after ripping guitar solo. The drums on this album though...good lord. I felt like someone was firing a round from an M1 Abrams tank right under my chair. They are ridiculously heavy and bombastic. All in all, shredheads and guitar lovers alike will salivate over this album as though they just secretly recorded EVH performing all his improvised solos.

    About this Writer:
    Greg Watson // Greg Watson has been hooked on the loud and heavy sounds since the summer of 1994 when he first heard the opening notes of "Operation: Mindcrime" by Queensryche. Since then his tastes have expanded and grown like the ever evolving heavy metal tree of genres. He has been an active member of Maximum Metal off and on for 10 years. In his spare time, Greg enjoys deciding the fate of his loyal subjects in the realm of Skyrim and secretly playing air keyboard to "Separate Ways" by Journey when no one is watching. He currently resides in Roanoke, VA with his wife and his metal wannabe beagle.

    Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
    5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
    4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
    3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
    3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
    2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
    1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
    0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

    Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

    Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

    The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.

    All reviews for Maxxxwell Carlisle:
    Visions of Speed and ThunderMaxxxwell Carlisle
    Greg Watson10/9/2015

    All interviews for Maxxxwell Carlisle:

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