8/31/2006 - Review by: Vinaya Saksena
Michael Orlando: Sonic Stomp (Sonic Stomp Music, 2006)
Yes, this fleet-fingered, New York-based guitarist seems intent on carving out his own niche in the vast world of the electric guitar. And for guitar enthusiasts, I’d say it’s a pretty appealing one- where for once, nifty riffs and ideas are as prevalent as lightning-paced arpeggio runs. In particular, Orlando’s tone stands out, not overly saturated with overdrive, but not the clean, sharp attack of Yngwie Malmsteen or Joe Stump. Instead, Orlando’s sound has a spacey, futuristic vibe, which is enhanced by more than ample chops and an obvious effort to use them to create a unique sound. Really, technique aside, the best thing I can say about Orlando is that he has a unique approach to shredding. He doesn’t adhere to the formula of constant sweep-picking and palm-muted staccato chug rhythms that we’ve heard a thousand times from too many guys wasting their skills playing the same tired old runs.
Tune-wise, Sonic Stomp is all instrumental, with able playing all around, and I’m happy to say that it never gets boring over the course of its twelve tracks. Cuts like “Jam on It” and the title track boast a catchy series of riffs and melodies, while mellower fare such as “Velvet Sky” and “A Moment in Time” provide ample opportunity for Orlando to show off his mellower side (while squeezing off an impressive and playful flurry of notes towards the end of the latter tune). The closing “Old Time Boogie” may have more in common with Satriani than most practitioners of actual “boogie,” but it’s bright, rockin’ and lively, so what the heck? But the tune that I feel best exemplifies Orlando’s talents is lead-off tune “Wheels in Motion,” which takes a riff I still can’t get out of my head and places a similarly infectious melody over it, building on th! e whole thing further with harmonies and intelligent soloing.
An impressive introduction to a very promising guitar talent, and very well-recorded and mastered for what appears to be a self-produced release. I look forward to more, which may come soon through Orlando’s band Tred, featuring Twisted Sister’s A.J. Pero (who also appears on this album’s “Jam on It”) on drums.
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