James Murphy - Convergence (Shrapnel) 1996
1. "Since Forgotten"
When I saw the Shrapnel label I was expecting some Greg Howe/Joe Satriani-shred album. Well, to my surprise, what James Murphy gives us is actual songs, although the instrumental attributes are of more importance than the song writing. Unlike his work with Testament, Death, and Obituary, James stretches himself and allows room for his guitar to do the talking, especially on tracks like the album closer "Tempus Omnia Revelat." Murphy is a skilled and technical guitarist, drawing depth from more than just the standard D-tuned death metal riffs. Another nice thing about this disc is that James allowed for lyrics in some of the songs and brought on some of the best to sing for him. Guest vocalists include Chuck Billy (Testament) and Devin Townsend (Strapping Young Lad). Also appearing on "Convergence" is the aforementioned Greg Howe sharing leads in "Red Alert."
James Murphy-Feeding the Machine (Diehard/Shrapnel) 1997
1. "Feeding the Machine"
As with the first album, James presents and album of half instrumentals and half songs with guest vocals. The CD is neatly arranged with five instrumentals and five vocal tracks, each even-numbered track being an instrumental. "Feeding the Machine" really takes off where 'Convergence' left off. The riffs are pummeling, the guitar work stunning, the song writing top-notch. Includes special guests such as Testament vocalist Chuck Billy, vocalist Clark Brown, bassist Steve DiGiorgio, and drummer Deen Castronovo. Vitalij Kuprij contributes a keyboard solo to the title track, while Stuart Hamm plays bass on the Dixie Dregs cover track "Odyssey". Murphy also does a smokin' cover of Al DiMeola's "Race With Devil On Spanish Highway". Favorite tracks are "Visitors," "No One Can Tell You" with Chuck Billy singing and the instrumentals "Feeding The Machine" and "Through Your Eyes (Distant Mirrors)."