Marty Friedman - Dragon's Kiss (Shrapnel) 1988
1. "Saturation Point"
"Dragon's Kiss" is an instrumental version of Cacaphony, even featuring Cacophony drummer Deen Castronovo and, as a guest artist on two songs, Jason Becker. Marty Friedman unleashes one heavy album of guitar-shred with the same speed metal mentality as he had with his Becker/Friedman band. For the most part, these sorts of all instrumental albums don't interest me, but Friedman's songwriting works well, even without vocals. The reason for this is that the music is written as actual songs, as opposed to just rhythms to throw some solos over. It sounds as if Marty worked as hard to perfect his rhythm playing and his song writing as he did on the guitar solos themselves. One other thing that helps this album is that it isn't long and drawn out. I think this is a big problem with band's today. Because a cd holds 80 minutes of music, they feel the need to fill that cd up. "Dragon's Kiss", however is forty minutes of only the best material without another half an hour of filler. Overall, this disc is full of texture, dynamics, and imagination. It was shortly after the release of this disc that Friedman was recruited to join Megadeth's ranks.
Marty Friedman - Scenes (Shrapnel) 1992
1. "Tibet" (2:35)
Many years had passed since "Dragon's Kiss" and this CD. Since that time, Marty had joined forces with Megadeth, which gave him the opportunity to get out his more aggressive side. So I guess, with that Marty needed to release something a bit different from the platinum selling Megadeth. Nick Menza, also of Megadeth, appears on a few tracks here as well, but don't get the idea that any of this is heavy. "Scenes" is much mellower than anything from Marty's past and is more ambient and melodic, adding in some Eastern influences. This disc was even produced by Kitaro. If the name Kitaro means anything to anyone reading this page, then you know the level of diversity this project offers. "Triumph" is a reworking of "Thunder March" from "Dragon's Kiss."
Marty Friedman - Introduction (Shrapnel) 1994
Marty Friedman has always been known as a shred-guitarist. When I picked up this disc I expected something more akin to his first solo shred-metal extravaganza "Dragon's Kiss" but rather what I got was a more experimental, laid back, almost new-age instrumental disc. Not a bad album by any stretch of the imagination, but it certainly was not what I was expecting either. Some of the music in this disc might make for a cool movie soundtrack. What makes the disc interesting, however, is the same creative songwriting that made "Dragon's Kiss" so intriguing. Marty knows how to write a song that grabs your attention and hold your interest. "Intermission" is great for late night play when I'm just kicking back.
Solo disc number four for Marty. This disc see Marty dropping the new age and Eastern stylings, for the most part, in favor of a more rock/heavy metal approach. The disc starts off with a song that is very similar to the material on "Introduction" but picks up with "Espionage," which has a heavy Megadeth flare. "Rio" and "Farewell" are really the only mellow tracks. The album also adds a couple vocal tracks ("Last September" and "Live and Learn"). There are even some bluesy moments which is something Marty rarely experiments with. Disc number four shows no signs of weakness or slowing down. Marty is still one of the best guitarists in the scene.
Marty Friedman - Music For Speeding (Favored Nations) 2003
1. "Gimme A Dose"
"Music For Speeding" sounds like it should be something akin to Cacophony's "Speed Metal Symphony," but it's not. Where as the Cacaphony discs were pure speed metal, "Music For Speeding" is a lesson in diversity. Certainly there are some of those fast, heavy shredders on this disc. "Ripped" and "Gimme A Dose" both bring thoughts of Marty's early material. However this disc is actually a nice mix of all four Marty Friedman solo discs up to this point. There are a few more mellow songs like the material on "Introduction". "Novacaine Kiss" is one such song. Some of the Eastern influences from "Introduction" and "Scenes" creep in again as well on songs like the incredibly heavy "Nastymachine". "Lovesorrow" is one of the more melancholy songs on the disc and incorporates some orchestration and even a moment of flamenco guitar. "Cheer Girl Rampage" has a strange metal meets techno sound that I actually quite liked. "Lust For Life" reminded me of Queen slightly with some Brian May type leads and guitar tones. "Salt in the Wound" even brings in a touch of Megadeth. (Wonder what the title implies? Hmmm...) Overall, I'd say this was Marty's most diverse CD to date. Marty still remains one of the few instru-metal shred guitarists that can hold my interest for an entire disc.