Maximum Metal Rating Legend
5 Excellent - Masterpiece. A classic.
4.5-4 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a lacking.
3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler.
3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio.
2.5-2 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors.
1.5-1 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
0 Terrible - Waste of your life and time.

Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.
Joe Stump
Leviathan Records
5/25/2005 - Review by: Vinaya Saksena
Joe Stump - Shredology - 2005 - Leviathan Records

Track Listing
1.In For The Kill
2. Jetaime
3. Sorcerer's Apprentice
4. Never Forgotten
5. Night of the Living Shred
6. Demon's Eye
7. R.B.N.C.S.F. No. II
8. Rapid Fire Rondo
9. Pharaoh's Delight
10. 2001: A Shred Odyssey
11. Bullet Train
12. Séance
13. Mind Games
14. Hurricane X
15. The Drill (bonus track)
16. Prelude-Demon's Eye [Live]
17. Wrecking Machine [Live]
18. Paganini's Revenge [Live]
19. Sorcerer's Apprentice [Live]
20. Thrill of the Chase [Live]
21. Dark Gift [Live]
22. Guitar Cadenza/Rapid Fire Rondo [Live]
23. Encore Shred Ham [Live]
It’s been quite a decade for Joe Stump. I can still remember flipping through issues of Guitar World magazine and seeing ads for Joe Stump’s debut album, "Guitar Dominance", declaring the arrival of “The Ultimate Guitar Monster.” That was 1994, a time when America was going gaga for grunge (noisy, simplistic junk, with a few exceptions) and shred had been deemed terminally uncool.

What a difference a decade can make! Just over ten years later, things may not have come full circle, but ultra-technical rock guitar is definitely on an upswing commercially. And while Zakk Wylde seems to get the lion’s share of the credit (to read Guitar World these days, you’d think he invented the friggin’ wheel!), guys like Joe Stump also deserve recognition for carrying the torch during the dark ages. What’s that you say? You’ve never heard of Joe Stump?!?!? Damn! What are they even teaching you kids in school these days? Sheesh! March right down to your local record store and ask for "Shredology".

Okay, enough silliness! But seriously folks, if you are not hip to the works of Professor Stump (you have heard of the Berklee School of Music, I hope!), then this is a great way to get hip. Although it also serves as a sort of fare-well between Stump and Leviathan Records (European label Lion released his latest, the typically excellent "Speed Metal Messiah"), "Shredology" manages to be more than just a “contractual obligation”-type affair, as it offers tracks from all of his solo releases, plus one from Reign Of Terror’s Conquer and Divide, and a short new piece called “The Drill.” Stump was nice enough to solicit fan requests when deciding the track listing, and the earliest tracks have been remastered, making them sound better alongside the impressively hi-fidelity recordings from his more recent albums. To top it all off, we also get treated to a bonus disc of live tracks recorded at the Midwest Shredfest, originally released in limited quantities via

As for the music itself, most of it is predictably, but lovably over-the-top, instrumental guitar rock, with occasional ballad-like respites to keep it from getting tiresome. Long-time fans can argue about great tracks that didn’t make the cut, and I can name at least a couple that I would have liked to see included. However, I am quite pleased to see that my favorite Stump album, 1994’s "Night of the Living Shred", is well-represented. Furthermore, the two "Guitar Dominance" selections on here sound killer in their spruced-up form, also emphasizing the fact that Stump had much of his technical wizardry comfortably in place early in his career, although as this disc (with it’s chronologically arranged tracks) shows, he has constantly produced riveting stuff, always finding new destinations to explore in the shred landscape. In any case, Shredology serves its purpose as a primer for new converts, while also offering buying incentive for those who already own the Stump catalog. The Midwest Shredfest disc, in particular, is a smoking showcase that is practically worth the price of the whole package. Check out the live “Paganini’s Revenge,” Joe’s killer re-casting of Nicolo Paganini’s 24th Caprice. YEOWZAH!!!

Rating: 7

--Vinaya 05.01.05

Armed And Ready
Leviathan Records
Vinaya Saksena7/19/2004
Leviathan Records
Vinaya Saksena5/25/2005

Joe StumpVinaya Saksena10/25/2013
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