James Murphy

Feeding the Machine

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Death Metal guitar guru James Murphy follows up 1997's Convergence with an expanded palette. A supreme technician with an endless stream of rhythmic ideas, he has served as a sideman for not only Death/Thrash Metal, but also some Progressive Metal/Rock sessions. Those experiences set the table for this varied session. The core of the band is a trio comprised of Murphy, Death Metal veteran bassist Steve DiGiorgio and session great Deen Castronovo on drums. The charm of the recording is the guest appearances and the unique contributions they make. Geezer vocalist Clark Brown contributes two macho, yet melodic performances on "Feeding the Machine" and "Deconstruct", while Testament vocalist Chuck Billy reunites with Murphy on "No One Can Tell You". Royal Hunt vocalist John West makes an appearance on the Power Metal-influence "Visitors". The sessions most interesting track is "Distant Mirrors", which contains the throaty vocals of Chris Long as well as those of ProgRock great Trent Gardner, whom Murphy collaborated with on the landmark recording Age of Impact. If this wasn't surprising enough for Death Metal fans then the version of "Race with the Devil on a Spanish Highway" surely must have been. This classic Fusion song by the legendary Al Di Meola lends itself perfectly to the heavy treatment its given. Murphy tackles the difficult song with the required energy and pulls off every note with conviction and precision making this reason enough to seek out this session. While the sum of its parts may not amount to an essential recording, there is enough here to please both old and new fans alike.

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