Cacophony, formed by guitarists Marty Friedman and Jason Becker, was one of Shrapnel's earliest bands. Cacophony's music featured classical influences and the sort of complex guitar soloing that would become the trademark of Shrapnel releases. The band only recorded two albums and broke up soon after the release of "Go Off." The next year saw the release of solo records by both Friedman ("Dragon's Kiss") and Becker ("Perpetual Burn"), with each performing as "guests" on the other. Marty Friedman went on to join Megadeth, while Becker played in David Lee Roth's band before contracting Lou Gehrig's Disease, forcing him to retire his guitar although he continued to compose music with the help of computers, and released a solo album titled "Perspective."

Speed Metal Symphony Cacophony - Speed Metal Symphony (Shrapnel) 1987

1. "Savage" (5:48)
2. "Where My Fortune Lies" (4:32)
3. "The Ninja" (7:24)
4. "Concerto" [instrumental] (4:34)
5. "Burn the Ground" (6:50)
6. "Desert Island" (6:24)
7. "Speed Metal Symphony" [instrumental] (9:32)

I use to own this on vinyl back in 1987-1988 and at the time I thought it was awesome. When I found this disc used for $3.99, I snapped it up. Listening to it again brought back some cool memories. Still sounds good to me. Pretty heavy for a guitar shred project. Vocalist Peter Anur has decent pipes and reminds me of Jeff Scott Soto (ex-Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force).

Go Off! Cacophony - Go Off! (Shrapnel) 1989

1. "X-Ray Eyes" (5:10)
2. "E.S.P." (6:06)
3. "Stranger" (3:24)
4. "Go Off!" [instrumental] (3:46)
5. "Black Cat" (7:45)
6. "Sword Of The Warrior" (5:09)
7. "Floating World" (5:10)
8. "Images" [instrumental] (3:43)

Cacophony's second and last effort takes off where their last disc left off, improving slightly but not dropping one ounce of energy. The songs are still in the realm of speed metal but add in a bit of neoclassical and progressive metal to the mix. One big improvement is the focus on better rhythms and song writing, as opposed to excessive soloing. That's not to say there isn't plenty-o-shred, for both guitarists slay! Unfortunately the lyrics aren't as focused and are a bit silly at times (ie. "Black Cat"). Not a big deal though since the lyrics aren't the main focus of this band anyhow. Lead singer Peter Marrin does an admirable job, with his gritty, aggressive vocal style but it's really Friedman's and Becker's guitar work that steals the show. Picked up this disc at for around $5-$6.

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