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.
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AllMusic Review by Andy Hinds