Monte Pittman

The Power of Three

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A lot of sidemen might have a wide variety of projects on their plate, but few cross the stylistic gulf quite like Monte Pittman, who spent the bulk of the 2000s dividing his time between playing guitar for pop superstar Madonna and groove metal outfit Prong. On his third solo effort, The Power of Three, Pittman combines the heaviness of the latter and the polish of the former for an album of slickly produced and expertly performed heavy metal. Where his previous effort, Pain, Love & Destiny, was more of an exploration of plaintive post-grunge, Pittman's metal past shines through here with track after track of high-intensity guitar heroics. What's remained intact, however, is his pop sensibility. Even though The Power of Three is riddled with searing solos and grooving riffs, the singer/songwriter in him still bleeds through, creating a merger of melody and menace reminiscent of sparkling pop/metal hybrids like Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train." Balancing intensity with accessibility is a tricky tightrope to walk, but it's one that Pittman's wide range of experience has made him uniquely suited to. Unfortunately, this balancing act doesn't really result in anything all that new or innovative, so while solidly written songs like "A Dark Horse" are plenty exciting and tightly performed, they're nothing metal fans haven't heard before. This ultimately makes The Power of Three an album likely to play better to fans of Pittman's earlier work than heavy metal diehards looking for something new, though the latter might find some enjoyment in the album's heavy metal comfort food quality.

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