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Perspective

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Album Review

Between the release of his first solo album, Perpetual Burn, in 1988 and the making of this, his second, speed metal guitarist Jason Becker suffered one of the most devastating blows a human being can: he was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease), the incurable ailment that gradually renders its victims paralyzed. Perspective was recorded during the period when Becker was losing his ability to move, much less play the guitar, and thus marks a transition from his days of frantic fretboard work to less speedy playing and to writing music that is played by other musicians and by computer; much of the album was written on a Macintosh and then executed by guest performers. The result is that Becker, being unable to produce his usual heavy metal performances, has turned to a more varied musical palette, allowing in a wide range of musical influences. "Primal," the lead-off track, for example, has a Middle Eastern feel, while "Empire" is distinctly Oriental. The lengthy "End of the Beginning" displays classical influences, as does the Bach-like "Serrana." Becker's musical imagination is unfettered even if his body is disabled; he stuffs his tunes with different musical ideas, often taking them in surprising directions. In this sense, the most notable track is also the last written for the record, "Life and Death" ("The title speaks for what was on my mind at the time," he notes), which sounds like a group of musical cues for the soundtrack of an adventure film. Jason Becker is enduring a catastrophic fate physically, but he is using it to explore musical passages he might not have otherwise. Originally released on his own label in 1996, Perspective was reissued by Warner Bros. in 2001. Part of the proceeds goes to the ALS Therapy Development Foundation (als-tdf.org/).

Biography

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s

Jason Becker is an American hard rock guitarist who formed the band Cacophony in the late '80s with fellow guitarist Marty Friedman and recorded two albums with it, Speed Metal Symphony (1987) and Go Off! (1988). He made the instrumental solo album Perpetual Burn in 1988. In 1989, he left Cacophony and was hired by David Lee Roth to replace Steve Vai in his backup band, appearing on the album A Little Ain't Enough (1991). Shortly after he joined Roth's band, however, he was diagnosed with Amyotrophic...
Full Bio
Perspective, Jason Becker
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  • $17.99
  • Genres: Rock, Music, Metal
  • Released: 21 May 1996

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