Monte Pittman is an American musician, songwriter and studio musician, based out of Los Angeles, known largely as Madonna‘s long-time guitarist and for playing with Prong. The number of albums he has recorded and been a part of is a massive list which is also truly varied. As a listener, I have heard his work on a few brilliant Prong albums and also on his solo effort The Power of Three which is a great album. When I saw this opportunity come up I jumped at the chance, so here we go with the review of Monte Pittman‘s new album Inverted Grasp of Balance which is out on Metal Blade Records on Sep 23rd.
On this album, Monte Pittman has teamed up with drummer Richard Christy of Charred Walls of the Damned, Iced Earth, and Death fame. Also enlisting probably the best bassist in the world, in my opinion, Billy Sheehan, famous for his work with David Lee Roth, Mr. Big and, more recently, The Winery Dogs. With Jay Ruston (Anthrax, Steel Panther) handling production duties, Pittman recorded his guitar parts wherever he found himself while on the road.
So onto the first track: “Panic Attack” opens the album with some absolutely brutal guitar work and some excellent drumming blended with some awesome vocals. You seem to have a perfect opening track, making you crave the next. “Arisen in Broad Daylight” starts again with that heavy guitar work which hails back to an early Exodus sound, in my opinion. It is just a brilliant sounding metal song with a blistering solo and all-around musicianship.
“Guilty Pleasure” is a really heavy guitar driven number with some great guitar work. Almost stoner rock in parts yet with wicked solo work it’s almost Anthrax – The Sound of the White Noise-ish sounding to me. I like it. We move onto “The Times Are Changing” which is again full of some awesome guitar work. The vocals are really perfect on this, as is the riff running through the track building to the epic solo.
Next up is “Double-Edged Sword” and, wow, what a meaty riff this has! I love this track. It gets you nodding and wondering if you will ever get to see this band live as I am sure it would be a fantastic night. “Cadabra” is just a small musical interlude setting us up for the blisteringly heavy “Pride Comes Before the Fall”. The guitar tone is so brutal at the start of this song with some heavy lyrics and again some great musicianship which cannot be faulted. Another good song.
“California” opens with some great bass work then onto that fabulous riff-tastic sound that runs through this album. The bass is so heavy here again, the guitars, vocals, and drumming are all flawless. “Be Very Afraid” has another brilliantly catchy riff. This is another fist-pumping anthem with a lovely breakdown in the middle. “Obliterated” is a lovely mastered piece of guitar work, the first song without any vocals but to be honest, is a down point for me.
“Skeleton Key” continues with the brilliant songwriting, vocals, and great overall song structure. We finish Monte Pittman‘s Inverted Grasp of Balance with “New Blood Keeps Us Alive”. A lovely way to finish the album, a really nice ballad with the rain sounds interwoven.
This album was a brilliant find! What can I say? If you like heavy rock, metal whatever you want to call it, this is for you! Brilliant musicians, great riffs, cohesive songwriting, it has it all.
Mark 10 out of 10
Colin “Starchild” Francis