Moonlight Prophecy is:
Lawrence Wallace: All instruments and composing
Mika Mage: bass
Being that we are covering the great state of Pennsylvania in our State of the Art series this month and it being International Guitar Month, I ran into a band in my search for talented, lesser known gems that I instantly fell in love with that needed to be covered outside of the normal Monday cycle and they have a brand new release set to drop on April 15th. From Philadelphia comes Moonlight Prophecy to abuse your ear drums with the, much anticipated, release of Eternal Oblivion!
So, this being my final International Guitar Month spotlight, I toiled about who I wanted to cover. I wanted something special so I stopped and let my mind wander a bit. Who do I love? Who has moved me? Who has had my attention for years? Man, there are so many to choose from that are so deserving. Once Jason Becker’s name flashed across my mind, my breathing slowed and I comfortably knew who I needed to write about. Not a “want,” a “need”. This man holds a very dear place in my heart and I can only pray that my words even come close to giving this man’s story justice with my utmost respect…
I was fortunate enough to cover a huge number of guitar heavy hitters in one fall swoop this week: Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteen, Zakk Wylde, Nuno Bettencourt and Tosin Abasi; all currently on the Generation Axe Tour. Five very different guitarists that cover Heavy Rock and Blues, to Neo-Classical Metal and Experiment Progressive. One thing is for damned sure: each man is at the top of their game and love playing the highest quantity of notes in the shortest period of time possible. As Bettencourt put it so succinctly: The promoters could not figure out how to pay all of these slingers and decided to pay each per note. No doubt, these gentlemen would come out on the winning end of that deal!
I think it is safe to say that everyone came to the show to see one or two of their favorite artists. That certainly holds true for me. I have seen Steve Vai quite a few times over the years and loved every show, Zakk Wylde with Black Label Society a couple of times which, of course, is always ear-splitting and fun, Nuno Bettencourt years and years ago with Extreme, Yngwie Malmsteen once in the mid-80’s (he was one of my primary motivators), but I have never seen Tosin Abasi or Animals As Leaders live, so I was especially excited to see this 8 string wonder shred the wood off of his fretboard. When it was all said and done, favorites mean nothing because the bar for this show was off the scale. It would become nit-picking or simply a matter of a subjective style and taste. Personally, I sat in the third row, center stage (Thank you so much, Scott!) and was moved, highly entertained and awed for three and a half hours. I love it all…
Photo by: by Ronan Thenadey
If you are a fan of any New Orleans band you should be thanking Jimmy Bower. Jimmy has been one of the forefathers of metal in Louisiana. You may know him from Eye Hate God, Down or Superjoint Ritual. Jimmy is one of the most celebrated guitar players in heavy metal, and while he is a legend on that instrument he is also a well accomplished drummer as well (as you may have seen in Down). Jimmy has often been called “The Godfather of Southern Metal.” If the iconic bands mentioned above wasn’t enough he also had brief stints in the bands Corrosion of Conformity, and Crowbar. Another band that Jimmy has shredded for was The Mystick Krewe of Clearlight. It was an instrumental project so it allowed our ears to consume even more of Jimmy’s sacred sound. Continue reading
In the interest of our continuing coverage of International Guitar Month I attended the last stop on The Ultimate Guitar Experience Tour featuring guitarists David Klosinski, Andy Timmons, Jennifer Batten and Uli Jon Roth in Melbourne, FL. I also attended the second show on the tour in Orlando six weeks ago (please see The Ultimate Guitar Experience) which was my first article for Metal Nexus and what earned my spot on the staff. At the show in Orlando, I got to see the improvisational genius of Andy Timmons and Jennifer Batten due to difficulties with Uli’s band and their temporary work visas. While quite a treat for those of fortunate enough to attend, I wanted to see the show as intended by this guitar master.
I was in high school the first time I heard Vinnie Moore’s “Mind’s Eye” and was immediately hooked; heart and soul. At the time I was playing bass in a local Thrash band but always loved all of the, then emerging, Neo-Classical guitarwork by other greats like Yngwie Malsteen, Jason Becker, Marty Friedman, Richie Blackmore, Tony MacAlpine and many others. Vinnie’s guitar playing struck me immediately and straight to my soul. I cannot quite place my finger on what made his music resonate so deeply but I still cannot shake his magical playing to this day. Blazing speed? Silky smooth “feel”? Perfect melodies? Emotional connection? All of these? Something else? I just don’t know. Regardless, I have probably listened to “Mind’s Eye” and “Time Odyssey” (this is actually where my pen name originated) literally thousands of times. They simply never get old and just feel like home to me. In my humble opinion, he defines “The Perfect Guitarist”. Continue reading