MIKE CAMPESE - CHAMELEON (Independent)
During my search for Mike Campese’s background history I was allowed to behold all the precious works this electric and acoustic guitar virtuoso/composer he has realized up to now. Inclusive his new album “Chameleon”, shred master MC released at least 8 solo albums. He was also a full member of Rock opera specialists Trans-Siberian Orchestra (featuring Jon Oliva & Al Pitrelli, both Savatage). Alongside TSO, Mike created many albums and Toured all a cross the world and received a gold record as a token of appreciation for his brilliant guitar talents throughout a long period of time
Graduated with great distinction at Hollywood California based Musicians Institute (where he trained as much as possible at the side of greats like Paul Gilbert, Scott Henderson, Stanley Jordan and many more), and is a graduate of Shaker High School as well and there is more. He writes for National, famous guitar magazines like Guitar9, Chops From Hell, Guitar One, Guitar World, Shred Academy among others… true fact is that Mike teaches more than 60 students a week how to handle a guitar in style, with a whole lotta design elegance. In New York, Mr. Campese is considered as one of the absolute, omnipotent teachers!
And the story continues, he has released three instructional DVDs for Chops From Hell with appropriate titles as ‘Virtuoso Rock Fusion Concepts”, “Creative Speed-Building Picking Techniques” and “Melodic Shred”. Okay, what’s next? Mike appeared on Jason Becker’s Tribute album, performed and opened for and legends like Yngwie Malmsteen, Michael Schenker, Lou Reed, Lizzy Borden, Dokken, Vinnie Moore and loads of others. This year, he even collaborates with members of Lady Gaga’s band, Sing and Public Enemy. This just proves how versatile Mike Campese really is, give him a guitar and he can do about anything… that’s for sure!
This way laundry list of activities is admirable and the end of his career seems not yet in sight, I’m here to spread the word of Mike Campese’s new solo album entitled “Chameleon”… better prepare for a one-hour trip through the landscape of miraculous and beautiful shred tactics, highly varying without one single moment of boredom. A longhaired excellent multi-instrumentalist in full action who immediately gets a place in my list of the greatest solo artists at the moment !
All the instruments you hear on his previous albums came from Mike himself, on his newest effort “Chameleon” he collaborates with another guitar wizard and good friend named Vernon Reid (Living Colour). A co-operation that goes smoothly without any doubt… this is a great musical relationship definitely. Both guys’ riffs and solo’s reaching a sovereign level, although songs like ‘Do It For The Cats’, ‘Meant To Be’, ‘Funky Money Man’ and ‘Firefly In A Bottle’) reflecting a Jazzy/Funky character and that is a bridge too far for myself. These tracks are not able to convince me, not because they’re played poorly… this type of music is not my alley for sure, I can’t get a full grip on it.
On the title track and ‘She Burnt The House Down’ you’ll hear Mike on vocals and in my opinion, he is a much better guitar player than a singer. I shall never say that Mike is a worthless singer, I rather describe him as a moderate shouter. Obviously, everything has to do with personal taste and you know that, as a reviewer, you need to let your own heart speak. I consider this just as so called minor hiccups I want to forgive Mike, all the precious moves to discover throughout this sing and actually across the entire album are just phenomenal, and I am not exaggerating this in no way. Mike delivers all the very best in shred guitar service during the fire and flame spitting ‘Raise The Bow’ featuring a mighty Paganini styled section… outstanding! Wanna go for a nice and easy ride? Than I suggest you all to check out ‘Flashback’, a great ballad esque composition where tenderness comes to life in a sense of heartfelt technical/melodic guitar shredding… another brilliant one! But one of the most intelligent and unique works on Mike Campese’s new effort “Chameleon” must be ‘Vegas (Playing The Slots)’ and the Hawaiian volcano inspired ‘Kilauea’ featuring an extraordinary demonstration of how to play an electric guitar highly skilled. I’ve got a real good time listening to all the masterly beautiful shred tactics, be described as one word: admirable!
Addressing myself to the technical side of Mr. Campese’s way of guitar wizardry, “Chameleon” appeals to my imagination. Although those Jazz & Funky guitars lines were not able to positively influence me, still this album get my absolute valuation. Out of respect for all the precious efforts Mike offered so far, I’d like to scream it out that this self-produced new cut entitled “Chameleon” merits a place in the collection of every guitar enthusiast with good taste. Check out Mike Campese’s wondrous world of shred via: http://www.mikecampese.com/
My Point: 86 / 100
95+ : Outstanding, high valued albums & Classic Ones… a direct purchase is advisable !
Between 90 and 95: Surpasses the style of music, must be heard/ordered by every Metal fan
Between 80 and 89: Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it
Between 70 and 79: Decent but best previewing
Between 60 and 69: Rather moderate
Between 50 and 59: Bad, substandard50- : Rubbish