1999's Maze not only represents Vinnie Moore's return to his neo-classical shred roots, it also marks the guitarist's Shrapnel Records homecoming. It had been over a decade since Moore released his surprisingly successful debut for the label that essentially defined the rock guitar virtuoso genre. After spending years trying to shed the neo-classical tag and developing a Satriani-esque phrasing ability/tonal vocabulary, Moore brought some new tricks to his old bag, and Maze benefits because of it. The compositions are more mature than those on Mind's Eye and Time Odyssey and Moore's instrumental voice is light years in advance of what it was during his previous neo-classical forays. Mind's Eye may have heavily outsold Maze, but that was a result the timeliness of Moore's first Shrapnel offering. If forced to pick between these two releases, fans of the genre -- who should probably have both discs in their collection -- will be wise to pick up Maze.
by Jason Anderson