MARC RIZZO - The Ultimate Devotion

Marc Rizzo - The Ultimate Devotion

10 songs
75:00 minutes
***** ****


Looking like a heartbreaker on the cover photo, I was expecting the worst schmaltz music. But after learning that Marc Rizzo is the lead guitarist for Brazilian heavy metal Soulfly, and seeing that the CD had a seventy-five minute length, I started becoming really curious about this second solo album. In his native USA, the album was released on the Shrapnel label, which started in the late Eighties of promoting guitar heroes by the dozen, until nobody could bear it any longer. And nowadays, most guitar hero albums are so academic that only guitarists will actually like them. The Ultimate Devotion is different though. Rizzo is an aspiring young talent with a background in thrash metal music. On The Ultimate Devotion, he combines mostly acoustic flamenco guitar with fast thrash metal shred guitars, a bit like some of the quicker talents of the Eighties did. At times I feel reminded of Marty Friedman who later joined Megadeth.

The songs are up to ten minutes long, and although I have to admit that Marc Rizzo is sometimes slightly self-indulgent, it always is fun listening to his escapades. If he’s playing flamenco or blasting speed metal, you are always afraid that he will be getting knots into his fingers. The rhythm section is decently in the background, getting all the spotlights on Rizzo, but that’s the goal of a guitar hero album, isn’t it. The last ten minutes are filled with two vocal tracks where he hired TJ Frost as a guest vocalist. These are of course my personal highlights, as they show Rizzo from a more general songwriting side, combining late Eighties US metal with elements of power, thrash and speed metal, making for two excellent tracks.

Sometimes I wonder if the tracks come in the right order, as the display on my CD player and the track list on the back cover don’t always agree, but that’s just a minor problem. If you need to get one guitar hero album this year, it has to be The Ultimate Devotion.

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