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Michael Orlando: Sonic Stomp (Sonic Stomp Music, 2006)

Track Listing
1. Wheels in Motion
2. Sonic Stomp
3. Game Over
4. Jam On It
5. Horizons
6. Changes
7. Movement
8. Flex
9. Slam
10. Velvet Sky
11. A Moment in Time
12. Old School Boogie
Yeash, you might say- another guitarist trying to do the ol’ “fastest gun in the West” thing. And yes, the profusion of shredders does invite that kind of thinking these days. But to dismiss guitarist Michael Orlando as just another speed demon would mean missing out on a pretty wild musical ride.

Yes, this fleet-fingered, New York-based guitarist seems intent on carving out his own niche in the vast world of the electric guitar. And for guitar enthusiasts, I’d say it’s a pretty appealing one- where for once, nifty riffs and ideas are as prevalent as lightning-paced arpeggio runs. In particular, Orlando’s tone stands out, not overly saturated with overdrive, but not the clean, sharp attack of Yngwie Malmsteen or Joe Stump. Instead, Orlando’s sound has a spacey, futuristic vibe, which is enhanced by more than ample chops and an obvious effort to use them to create a unique sound. Really, technique aside, the best thing I can say about Orlando is that he has a unique approach to shredding. He doesn’t adhere to the formula of constant sweep-picking and palm-muted staccato chug rhythms that we’ve heard a thousand times from too many guys wasting their skills playing the same tired old runs.

Tune-wise, Sonic Stomp is all instrumental, with able playing all around, and I’m happy to say that it never gets boring over the course of its twelve tracks. Cuts like “Jam on It” and the title track boast a catchy series of riffs and melodies, while mellower fare such as “Velvet Sky” and “A Moment in Time” provide ample opportunity for Orlando to show off his mellower side (while squeezing off an impressive and playful flurry of notes towards the end of the latter tune). The closing “Old Time Boogie” may have more in common with Satriani than most practitioners of actual “boogie,” but it’s bright, rockin’ and lively, so what the heck? But the tune that I feel best exemplifies Orlando’s talents is lead-off tune “Wheels in Motion,” which takes a riff I still can’t get out of my head and places a similarly infectious melody over it, building on th! e whole thing further with harmonies and intelligent soloing.

An impressive introduction to a very promising guitar talent, and very well-recorded and mastered for what appears to be a self-produced release. I look forward to more, which may come soon through Orlando’s band Tred, featuring Twisted Sister’s A.J. Pero (who also appears on this album’s “Jam on It”) on drums.


Rating: 7.8


--Vinaya 08.09.06




About this Writer:
Vinaya Saksena // Vinaya is either a writer who dabbles in guitar playing, or a guitar player who dabbles in writing. A Maximum Metal staffer since 2004, he has also served as a reporter for several newspapers in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Although his obsession with music is such that it does not allow time for much else by way of hobbies, he also enjoys traveling, trivia, photography, British comedy and the occasional A-Team re-run.

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.



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Sonic StompMichael Orlando
2006
Vinaya Saksena8/31/2006


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