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Maximum Security

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Album Review

Guitarist/keyboardist Tony MacAlpine really hits his stride on Maximum Security. While it's not all that different from his first album, Edge of Insanity, it's just much better. The album's captivating neoclassical/fusion forays are filled with plenty of beautiful melodies and hair-raising solos; MacAlpine simply lights up the fretboard — and the keyboard, for that matter. Opening with a stormy harpsichord motif, the album's leadoff track, "Autumn Lords," sounds promising from the start. The piece soars with dramatic classical precision and features some truly breathtaking guitar/keyboard interplay. The album rarely falters from there; the flash guitar workout of "Hundreds of Thousands," which moves at warp speed, gives way to the gorgeous "Tears of Sahara," featuring guest solos by George Lynch. MacAlpine's penchant for dramatic soundscapes gives his pieces a rich, cinematic feel. The variety of textures on this album — not to mention a wealth of beautiful melodies — keep it continually interesting. Other highlights include "Porcelain Doll" — its lilting melody borrowed from Chopin — and MacAlpine's verbatim recital of Chopin's "Etude #4, Opus #10." Maximum Security is essential listening for anyone interested in instrumental guitar music.

Customer Reviews

Powerful instrumental masterpiece

Tony MacAlpine will amaze you with this awesome display guitar virtuosity. He blends powerful and catchy melodies, extreme solos and keyboard work that is truely inspired and unheard of in modern music. Highlights of this album include Hundreds of Thousands, Autum Lords and Tears of Sahara.

Tony MacAlpine is a true master of his craft.

Sure, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteen, Michael Angelo Batio, and all those guys have been praised for their guitar virtuosity (and rightfully so), but none have shown me the heart that MacAlpine does. This album is just flat out amazing. MacAlpine blends a great amount of talent, passion, and above all skill to create a wonderful catalog of music here. Never before have I heard the guitar play so expressively, so passionately, that it has brought tears to my eyes. That changed the day I was introduced to Tony MacAlpine. Check out the rest of his discography, too. The wonder doesn't stop here.

One of the greatest...

This is, without question, one of the greatest efforts that emerged from the 1980s "neoclassical" guitar instrumental movement. Maximum Security needs to be considered along other benchmark albums such as Satch's "Surfing" and Vai's "P&W." If this album is new to you, and if you're a fan of prodigious talent in the context of instrumental electric guitar music, sit back and enjoy this... It's a must have.


Born: August 29, 1960 in Springfield, MA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Progressive metal guitar virtuoso Tony MacAlpine began his musical education as a classically-trained pianist and violinist; his subsequent rock recordings retained a pronounced classical influence, incorporating elements of jazz and fusion as well. He debuted in 1986 with the instrumental Edge of Insanity, recorded with an all-star line-up including bassist Billy Sheehan and ex-Journey drummer Steve Smith; for the follow-up, Project: Driver, MacAlpine formed the band M.A.R.S. with drummer Tommy...
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Maximum Security, Tony MacAlpine
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