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Album Reviews : Marty Friedman – Inferno

By on July 9, 2014

Music is a wonderful thing, wouldn’t you agree? The right rhythm and melody can fill your mind with the most surreal and craziest of images; it is a catalyst for the imagination to take flight in extravagant fancy. No two people will hear a song and envision the same thing, and nobody will interpret a piece matching one’s own. Marty Friedman’s Inferno is a prime example of music that sparks the imagination, and, in that endeavor, it does not disappoint.

Marty Friedman is almost an outlier in the field of solo musicians like Satriani and Malmsteen. Whilst they are essentially cut from the same cloth, Friedman has never had much difficulty standing out from this crowd, though playing to a somewhat limited, but appreciative, audience. Inferno is not something that will, ultimately, change that, but it delivers on a number of levels that is sure to impress both the technically minded, and the more instinctual lovers of metal. The range offered by Inferno is on the slight side, but these showcase a number of interesting elements that blend together with Friedman’s trademark vigor and virtuosity seamlessly. Take, for example, Wicked Panacea (feat. Rodrigo y Gabriela), where the interaction between the Flamenco influenced guitars and more traditional metal distortion tone, meet the rhythm half-way and produce an interesting piece; this just one thread in the intriguing tapestry of Inferno.

It is worth noting here that during Friedman’s career, that he has never been shy to push his songs to a limit. Stretching the boundaries of his work to produce something unique; whilst he continues this philosophy in Inferno, it feels a little short lived in places, with songs ending rather abruptly. One might argue that it is so the song does not overstay its welcome, but with the quality and energy of these songs it just feels a little jarring. Even with that considered, there is no shortage of strangeness in the album, Meat Hook (feat. Jørgen Munkeby), with its wild saxophone and piano vignettes come to mind in this respect. This incongruity, however, is something that this album takes in stride and runs with the concept, allowing for a greater collusion and a number of solid and enjoyable tracks.

The amount of guests on this album is nothing to shake a stick at either, including the likes of the aforementioned Munkeby, Alexei Laiho and even a track co-written by Jason Becker, it is clear that Friedman intended to bring out something special here, and it holds up incredibly well. The sheer number of different influences and styles here all meet in a great metal forge, and are crafted into Inferno.

If I were to summarize the album, in its entirety, I would have to go back to my opening comments on music and its propensity to incite the imagination; with that said: Inferno is the soundtrack to one of the greatest television shows never made. There is a consistency at work, in all of the tracks, that underlies all the wild divergences and deviations that proficiently merges and creates a contrast within itself, all brought together by some great guest work, and upheld by Friedman’s own aptitude. For an album that will get your own creative juices flowing, then you cannot over look Inferno.

Band: Marty Friedman
Album: Inferno
Year: 2014
Genre: Heavy/Neo-Classical Metal
Label: Prosthetic Records
Origin: Japan


1. Inferno
2. Resin
3. Wicked Panacea (feat. Rodrigo y Gabriela)
4. Steroidhead (feat. Keshav Dhar)
5. I Can’t Relax (feat. Danko Jones)
6. Meat Hook (feat. Jørgen Munkeby)
7. Hyperdoom
8. Sociopaths (feat. David Davidson)
9. Lycanthrope (feat. Alexi Laiho & Danko Jones)
10. Undertow (feat. Gregg Bissonette & Tony Franklin)
11. Horrors (feat. Jason Becker)
12. Inferno (Reprise)


Hailing from parts unknown (actually, it’s Melbourne), Tristan is a freelance writer and lover of metal, with a special place in his heart for Power and Folk metal. After playing in a number of local Melbourne metal bands, and completing his Bachelor of Arts, Tristan focuses his attention to the pursuit of writing, practicing the Liechtenauer School of swordsmanship, dabbling in Cosplay and reciting Babylon 5 quotes; in addition to hunting for a publisher for his novel. Until then, he enjoys metal, writing about metal and convincing people around his office that he is immortal and has lived for 3,000 years. (So far only the chick in HR is buying it)