sophomore album, Go Off!
showcases an immense amount of development in a very short time. Unfortunately, this is also the last album they managed to produce, seeing as shortly after its release Marty Friedman joined Megadeth, and Jason Becker teamed up with David Lee Roth.
Much like its predecessor, Speed Metal Symphony
, Go Off!
is undoubtedly one of the most important albums in shred guitar, and in its very basic form, one helluva album.
First off, I have to mention that the production on this album is better than on SMS, but is still no better than average overall. The reverb that plagued their debut has been toned down, but is still present to a certain extent. It has been removed from the vocals and guitars, but remains a factor on the drums. Much on the feedback that was present on SMS is missing from this album, which is good because all of the instruments can be heard clearly now. The guitars still sound a bit thin at times, but that can be overlooked due to the amazing skill that is present. In short, the production on Go Off!
is a small step up from their debut.
One thing that hasn't changed is the undeniably amazing skills of the guitarists, and co-founders, Marty Friedman and Jason Becker. Their melodic skills improved, and this is evident on tracks such as "E.S.P" and "Black Cat," where the guitar work is atmospheric and adds a new level to the respective songs. One thing that has never been a problem with either guitarist is the feel of their playing, and it comes across as very strong on this album. They are intelligent enough to know that certain songs call for certain types of solos. On the title track "Go Off!", they mix sweep picking, with melodic, lyrical runs, and harmonized shredding; on paper it sounds like this would truly be one cacophony (no pun intended) of a lead line, but it comes across as very well written and executed. One downside to the track is that the guitars in the introduction sound very thin and annoying. The neo-classical element has been toned down slightly on this album, and in turn is traded off for a more straight forward rock sound, but is still apparent on a few select tracks.
The rhythm work on this album has also been stepped up. On SMS, there were a select few great rhythms, and for the most part everything was just good, but on Go Off!
the tracks are riddled with aggressive riffs and fills. "X-Ray Eyes", the opener of the album is reminiscent of the opener "Savage" from SMS, and much like it, starts out, and ends on an aggressive note. "Sword of the Warrior" is in my opinion, the most aggressive track Cacophony
managed to write in their short stint as a band. This is largely in part of the drumming, which unlike their debut is undeniably great.
The drumming on this album was handled by Deen Castronovo, despite having Kenny Stayropoulous' picture on the liner notes. Double bass is used throughout the album, and it used well. as opposed to having a steady roll for the entirety of the album, it is used only to accent the guitar riffs or add to the wall of sound under the solos. The fills on the album are good, nothing special, but solid nonetheless. On tracks like "Sword of the Warrior" and "Stranger" the drumming fits like a glove, combining just the right amount of technicality with a simple 4/4 beat.
Deen's drumming is incredible. ~ Jason Becker
Unlike the first album however, the bass isn't consistently present, and shows up in only a few spots. Unfortunately, there's not much more to say about it.
The vocals on the album are much better as well. Throughout the album they are in tune and powerful. Peter Marrino's vocal style matches the musical aspect of the band very well, and really drives home the lyrics he is delivering. On the down side, the lyrics he delivers aren't all that great.
Don't mess with the black cat
Don't mess with the black cat
If you believe in superstition ~ Lyrical excerpt from "Black Cat"
Overall this album is a step up from their debut Speed Metal Symphony
musically and vocally. The guitar work is phenomenal and the drumming is great. The vocals aren't too shabby either. Unfortunately the lyrics and bass leave something to be desired. I'd recommend this to any fan of Jason Becker or Marty Friedman's solo work, speed metal, neo-classical metal, or just badass music in general.
Marty Friedman - Lead Guitar, Rhythm Guitar
Jason Becker - Lead Guitar, Rhythm Guitar
Peter Marrino - Vocals
Jimmy O'Shea - Bass
Kenny Stavropoulous - Drums (Deen Castronovo played drums on this album)
"Go Off!" - The title track off the album is also an instrumental. It starts off with some harmonized sweep picking that has a thin sound to it, but it only lasts for about 30 seconds. The rest of the track is a trade off of classic solos between Becker and Friedman.
"Sword of the Warrior" - the most aggressive Cacophony
track, IMO. It begins with a drum fill, and the aggression just continues and climbs until its end.
"Images" - Jason Becker's favorite track off the album. It begins with a light guitar lead, and then continues on into a melodic guitar clinic by Mr. Becker.
Overall: 4.5 out of 5