On his 1993 Warner Bros. debut, instrumental rocker Gary Hoey plucks and hammers his way through 40 minutes' worth of post-Satriani rock noodling. Despite several attempts at genre-bending blues and soul references, Animal Instinct is all melodic (bordering on adult/soft) rock. The aggressive opener, "Mass Hysteria," and the upbeat shuffle "Texas Son" count as highlights, but the real standout is probably "Drive," a cut that boasts what is clearly the record's finest melody. Hoey plays admirably, and his supporting cast -- Tony Franklin (bass) and Frankie Banali (drums) -- also provide solid performances. Animal Instinct is a respectable offering for sure, but Hoey doesn't demonstrate a rhythmic or melodic capacity anywhere near that of his obvious influences, Joe Satriani and Steve Vai. Fans of virtuoso guitar rock would do better to search out superior shred material from the likes of Michael Lee Firkins, Tony MacAlpine, and Blues Saraceno before picking up this or any Gary Hoey disc.
AllMusic Review by Vincent Jeffries