Hey again, and welcome to another edition of Sawyer’s Shred Spotlight. I apologize for missing last week; my life has been a crazy combination of exams and protests. Anywho, this week’s SSS is (tentatively) the last part of the mini-series on compilations. Last time, I introduced the excellent modern compilation, Guitars That Ate My Brain. This week features another modern, but much more obscure album: The Alchemists. We dig in to this album, after the jump!
When I first found out about this album, I had only heard of three of the dudes on it. And honestly, I still don’t know anything about a lot of the artists on this record. But that doesn’t stop it from being a great album. First off, with 27 tracks, you’re getting quite the value for it. Especially for $9.99 through iTunes or Amazon. That’s less than 40 cents per song. Secondly, there is a phenomenal range of styles at display on The Alchemists. Everything from straight shred, to funky fusion, to industrialesque pieces, and more. As mentioned before, there are names you may know: Rusty Cooley, Dave Martone (check the last edition), Bumblefoot, most of the artists do not have such renown. These lesser known guys will be the focus of today’s article.
The first song I’d like to bring to your attention is a straight-up neoclassical piece by Mario Parga. I say straight-up, because even Yngwie rocks out his classical stuff, but with “Valse Diabolique”, the backing track is still largely composed of traditional arrangements and the like. Cool stuff!
Next up is a track from a guy I’d never heard of before, Todd Duane. His contribution “The Rain” is a solid track. The feel of it just reminds me of something that would be level music for an action platformer game on Sega or something. But that’s just me. (Todd also has a pretty sweet, and weird side project called Electrocution 250)
Lastly, my personal favorite track from the album: “Fives”, by Guthrie Govan. This song just rips in about every way imaginable. Its more on the jazzy side of things, but definitely shredtastic. I had no idea who Govan was before purchasing this album years ago, but he is now one of my favorite fusion guitar players. Check him out playing through “Fives” right below. Just as a side note, the version in this video is not the same as the version on The Alchemists, but I couldn’t find that anywhere. And this is a lot more entertaining. At least for me. Enjoy!
I’m too lazy to type out all of the songs, so check them out on iTunes right here. That’s all for this week’s SSS. I have no idea what next week will have in store, so if you have any suggestions on stuff you’d like me to cover, leave ’em in the comments.