Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Monte Pittman - The Power Of Three (Album Review)

Album Type : Full Length
Date Released : 21/1/2014
Label : Metal Blade Records

The Power of Three, album track listing  :
01. A Dark Horse
02. Delusions of Grandeur
03. Everything’s Undone
04. Blood Hungry Thirst
05. On My Mind
06. Away from Here
07. Before the Mourning Son
08. End of the World
09. Missing
10. All Is Fair in Love and War

Bio :

A year after Monte Pittman (guitars & vocals), Kane Ritchotte (drums), and Max Whipple (bass) boarded a plane to Copenhagen, Denmark to begin recording The Power of Three—the upcoming full-length album from award winning, chart topping guitarist Monte Pittman—the album is finally ready for the world to hear and has been set for release in North America on January 21, 2014 through Metal Blade Records. The Power of Three showcases Monte’s return to his metal roots and saw the band teaming up with none other than Flemming Rasmussen, famous for Metallica’s seminal album ‘Master Of Puppets’, who produced the album with mastering duties being handled by Alan Douches at West West Side Mastering. The Power Of Three, which is hard and heavy and follows on from Monte’s highly successful, critically acclaimed second album ‘Pain, Love & Destiny’, which reached number one in both the rock and pop charts.

Artist Cam Rackam created the artwork for the cover of The Power of Three. The piece features a portrait of Charon, the ferryman of Hades who carries souls of the newly deceased across the rivers Styx and Acheron that divided the world of the living from the world of the dead. This represents Monte's musical journey from what he has done before and where he is now with The Power of Three and beyond. The iTunes single and first track released to fans from the album, ‘A Dark Horse’, features artwork created by Gustav Klimt (used with kind permission) titled 'The Golden Knight (Life Is A Struggle)'. It is a textured, symbolic painting which tells a similar story as the music does.

The Band :

Monte Pittman | Guitars, Vocals
Kane Ritchotte | Drums
Max Whipple | Bass

Review :

Monte Pittman isn’t a household name.  Although, as Madonna’s long-time guitarist, playing on such chart-bothering tracks such as Hung Up and 4 Minutes, his work may very well have haunted your house and indeed your head in the past.

Alongside stints with other more mainstream acts such as Melanie C, Sophie Ellis Bextor and the ever opinion dividing Adam Lambert, his love for all things heavy has never been neglected.

A member of the Prong fold for 2003’s Scorpio Rising and this, his third solo studio album, he has oft flexed his musical muscles in the thrash metal realms of which his taste and true love are firmly rooted. On The Power of Three the diversity of his back catalogue, which has been stretched, tried and tested, his writing and playing abilities as a consequence give the record a resolutely accomplished sound. The majority of songs attributed to his name may not be of the heaviest nature but his song writing prowess has never been in question and here he has the chance to prove just that.

A Dark Horse ushers in shadowy acoustic guitars whose sense of foreboding soon morphs into a pounding, distorted thrash riff. While Pittman may not be the greatest singer there is his credentials in writing songs for Madonna and co. have reinforced an emphasis on infectious vocal melodies – ones which turn good songs into great songs and, as is the story on several other tracks across the record, A Dark Horse takes an unexpected turn at the half-way mark. The result is a flashy guitar solo and another fantastic riff. It makes the overriding listening experience much more intriguing.

End Of The World, led by a plodding drum beat and rung out chords, it once again shows how Pittman can lean on vocal melody for the defining feature of a song. It is, in essence, a pop song in a metal head’s clothing, but is supremely enjoyable all the while. A good riff however, is never far away and the groovy, syncopated one on offer here, which follows a nuanced lead guitar melody, is a fine example of this. 

Delusions of Grandeur meanwhile, can claim the title for the record’s standout track. Here, the combination of vocal orientated melodies and grinding riffs and ear-rattling drums is a hugely addictive concoction.

Other highlights include Before The Mourning Son, which yields a subtly doomy feel all the while being huge on melody and 13 minute album closing epic All Is Fair In Love And War. With lashings of punk, thrash and soaring lead lines which shine the spotlight on Pittman’s phenomenal playing, it is an impressive piece of music. After a heavy, Metallica-eqsue beginning, a slow, yearning passage takes the foray. Eating up the majority of the songs lifespan, it eventually becomes increasingly fiery before truly exploding in a climatic conclusion to both the song and the record on a whole.

What The Power of Three is in the end, is an opportunity for Pittman to do what he really loves. Writing and touring with pop’s elite is this man’s day job, it pays the bills and always will do. But credit must be dealt to whom it is due and instead of writing another multi-million pound album Monte Pittman has decided to do what he loves for a while. It’s a move which seems to already been benefitting his work, diversity sparks greater creativity and whoever gets that profit, be it Madonna or a more metallic output, for Pittman, this is mission accomplished.   

Words by : Phil Weller

You can buy it here

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