Few musicians have as long of a career as Michael Angelo Batio (MAB). Even fewer can legitimately claim to be an an inventor and innovator. MAB is one of the only on the planet with his invention on display in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland. Ever since his days with eighties metal bands, Holland and Nitro, MAB has been at the top of the guitar world. He is one of the fastest players on the planet, invented the double guitar and string dampener technology needed to make it work, has released several well respected and popular instruction DVDs, and several solo albums.
Rat Pak Records released the latest album from Michael Angelo Batio on April 14, 2015. Entitled Shred Force 1 (The Essential MAB), the new record delves into MAB’s 20 years catalog of solo music and brings fans new tracks as well. Featuring guest performances from members of Queensryche, Metal Church and Alice Cooper’s band, Shred Force 1 is a non-stop shred guitar feast.
For the classic tracks, Shred Force 1 contains some of MAB’s most well known songs, including “Juggernaut,” “No Boundaries,” and “Hands Without Shadows.” Also included is new version of Batio’s tribute to the late Darrell Abbott of Pantera entitled “Diamond,” which features Michael Wilton from Queensryche. MAB taps Queensryche again, bringing in vocalist Todd La Torre on two cover tracks: “What You’re Doing” by Rush, and Deep Purple’s “Burn.”
Joining MAB and La Torre on “What You’re Doing” is Metal Church Guitarist Kurdt Vanderhoof, Alice Cooper bassist Chuck Garrick, Jeff Plate and Craig Blackwell. The rest of the tracks read like a who’s who of guitar rock and metal, but rather than list the entire lineup, we suggest you refer to the below graphic, and check out the official website.
Shred Force 1 is a fantastic representation of Batio’s work. Meticulously put together by Rat Pak Records, each song fits perfectly in its location. A new listener would be hard pressed to guess which track was recorded for an album prior to this anthology. It is an incredible sampling of MAB’s long and accomplished career, featuring elaborate guitar solos that are equal parts bewildering and engaging. Batio’s understanding of the guitar and musical theory is rivaled only by the speed at which he is able to demonstrate that knowledge.
Highlights of Shred Force 1 are without a doubt, the tribute pieces that MAB has created for his fellow guitarists. “R R R,” the tribute to Randy Rhodes, “Slow Hand,” for Eric Clapton, and the aforementioned “Diamond” are each unique and convey not only a sense of respect, but affection for each of the artists the songs represent.
If you are a guitarist, a fan of shred guitar, or just want to be amazed by one of the fastest guitar players on the planet, TAM cannot recommend Shred Force 1 (The Essential MAB) enough. It is polished, beautiful, awe-inspiring, and leaves the listener in wonder and pumping with adrenaline.
Michael Angelo Batio’s new album, Shred Force 1 (The Essential MAB) is out now: http://ratpakrecordsamerica.com/michaelangelobatio
Read the TAM interview with Michael Angelo Batio.