With her mind-blowing mix of heavy metal guitar prowess and bluesy, soulful vocals, Orianthi will draw some justifiably well-earned comparisons to such giants of rock guitar as Jimi Hendrix and her own idol, Carlos Santana, on her 2009 sophomore album, Believe. That said, her style hews closer to the more finger-frenetic pyrotechnics of such '70s and '80s icons as Eddie Van Halen and Steve Vai. Throw in her ability to sell a lyric and carry a strong melodic vocal phrase while also throwing down some devastating slabs of heavy metal riffage, and she starts to look a heckuvalot like the fantasy love child of Prince and Lita Ford. What's even more delicious is how, at face value, Believe fits nicely next to studio-crafted -- albeit stylistically successful -- albums by Disney teen rock acts like Ashley Tisdale, Demi Lovato, and Miley Cyrus, the difference being that while those pretend-rock teen divas get backed by studio musicians, Orianthi IS the backing musician. She is the real rawk deal and Believe soars on her mighty metal talents. And it's clear from the get-go that Orianthi and her producers get the joke. The anthemic leadoff track, "According to You," begins innocently with a few seconds of Orianthi cooing over a lite keyboard part before her chugging power chords and gutsy vocals quickly set the tone for the rest of the what's to come. Two minutes in and Orianthi has not only delivered one of the poppiest, catchiest radio-friendly trax this side of Kelly Clarkson's "Since U Been Gone," but she's also launched into the first of several balls-out, fire-shooting-out-her-fingers, ripping-your-shirt-off metal solos featured on Believe. Before this album, Orianthi was best known as the guitar virtuoso picked to perform with Michael Jackson on his farewell tour before he passed in 2009, and after listening to Believe, it's clear that Orianthi was not only well deserving of that accolade but that her abilities far outdistanced a role as a backing musician. For rock fans awaiting the return of seriously fun, seriously rocking pop-metal, THIS is it.
AllMusic Review by Matt Collar