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Marty Friedman Offers Audiences One Of 2024’s Top New Albums On His New LP

Marty Friedman is among the most influential and important guitarists in the modern history of rock.  He has proven that time and again with the work that he has done with the likes of Megadeth, Cacophony, Ayreon, and so many others, as well as through his own solo catalog, which reaches all the way back to 1988 and his solo debut, Dragon’s Kiss.  Late last month, Friedman further showed what makes him such a key figure in the realm of rock and hard rock when he released his latest album, Drama.  Released May 17 through Frontiers Music s.r.l., the 12-song record is a start departure for Friedman in regard to sound and style in comparison to the work that he has produced in many of the albums that make up his solo catalog.  Throughout the course of the album’s 58-minute run time, so much of what Friedman has composed is reminiscent of the softer, more emotional work that Dram Theater guitarist John Petrucci has crafted as a member of that band and as a member of Liquid Tension Experiment, the side project of himself, his Dream Theater band mate Mike Portnoy, ex-Dream Theater keyboardist Derek Sherinian and bassist Tony Levin.

While a largely instrumental record (as with his existing solo catalog), the album does have at least one track with vocals.  It comes in the form of ‘Dead of Winter.’  That song is one of the many highlights from this record and will be discussed shortly.  ‘A Capella,’ which comes late in the album’s nearly hour-long run, is another highlight that deserves attention.  It will be examined a little later.  ‘Thrill City,’ an early entry in this latest offering from Friedman, is yet another example of how much change the famed musician has made this time around and the positive impact that change has had on the album.  When this song and the others noted here are considered alongside the rest of the album’s entries, the whole makes Drama a truly dramatic change for Marty Friedman that is definitely a contender for a spot among the best of this year’s new albums.

Drama, the latest solo record from guitarist Marty Friedman, is another impressive offering from the veteran musician who has already made so much of a name for himself as one of the rock industry’s elite throughout his career.  That is proven throughout the album what with its…well…dramatic stylistic change.  Among the most notable of the examples of that change is the record’s midpoint entry, ‘Dead of Winter.’  Featuring a guest vocal performance from Like A Storm front man Chris Brooks, the song is a moving and uplifting work reminding listeners to not give up even when things are difficult.  Brooks’ message is delivered against a melancholy guitar line courtesy of Friedman as he sings in the song’s chorus, “There’s a road ahead that’s coming/Through the winter…If you only make it through the night/The sun will rise again/The day has come and gone/When the night is cold and long/Just keep holding on/When you feel overcome/By the shadow…/Always remember/I will be with you/Through the dead of the winter.”  Some minor parts of the chorus are difficult to decipher sans lyrics, but the whole message is clear.  That uplifting message pairs with the keyboard work here and with Friedman’s guitar work to make the whole something of a throwback 80s power ballad type composition.  The string arrangements that subtly enter the mix throughout add even more to that sense.  The whole therein makes the song somewhat schmaltzy, yes, but in a good way.  To that end, the song here is a prime example of what audiences will appreciate about Drama.

Another example of how much audiences have to expect from Drama comes even later in its run in the form of ‘A Capella.’  This song is intriguing considering that the word “A capella” means literally without instrumental backing.  In the case of this song though, the lack of instrumental backing is the lack of any backing instrumentation.  Friedman performs entirely on his on own here.  The song clocks in at only one minute, 23 seconds but it feels much longer in the best way possible thanks to Friedman’s talents.  He blends elements of blues and even some Spanish guitar work for a whole that is unique from everything else on this record.  The subtle performance, the use of the echo effect, and the richness generated through the production makes the arrangement really stand strong on its own merits.  What’s more, Friedman uses such a soft touch and exhibits control both throughout its brief run time.  It makes for a great lead-in to its companion composition, ‘Tearful Confession,’ which immediately follows.

Speaking of the noted diversity exhibited throughout the album, that is shown just as much in one more of the record’s entries, ‘Thrill City.’  Coming early in the album’s run, this song opens with a surprisingly heavy guitar line from Friedman.  This is the only song in the album that gets this heavy.  At the same time, even being so heavy it also presents such a positive mood and allows Friedman and his fellow musicians to really get loose (for lack of better wording) at least in this one work.  What’s more, it does well to help break things up even more in the record’s sequence, thus adding even more to listeners’ engagement.  Keeping in mind the difference of this song from the others examined here and their variance from the rest of the whole therein makes Drama a dramatically impressive new offering from Marty Friedman.

Drama, the latest full-length studio recording from Marty Friedman, is a strong new offering from the veteran guitarist.  It impresses from beginning to end thanks to the diversity in its arrangements and the obvious change in sound and style from the albums that have come before it in Friedman’s catalog.  All three of the songs examined here make that clear.  When they are considered along with the rest of the album’s entries, the whole makes Drama an easy contender for a spot among the best of this year’s new albums and even rock albums.

Drama is available now through Frontiers Music s.r.l.  More information on the album is available along with all of Marty Friedman’s latest news at: