Producers: Marty Friedman, Steve Fontano, Kitaro.
Personnel: Marty Friedman (guitar); Brian BecVar (keyboards, percussion); Nick Menza (drums).
Recording information: Devonshire Studios 1 and 4, N. Hollywood, CA; Goodnight L.A.B., Panorama City, CA; Kitaro's Studio, Ward, CA.
The second release from guitarist Marty Friedman revealed a level of depth and maturity that equally surprised Megadeth and guitar-shred fans everywhere. While his 1988 debut Dragon's Kiss eluded to some of what is heard here, it was essentially just another shred fest. The Eastern influence, which Friedman so embraces, is authenticated here by the excellent production of Kitaro and the dreamy contributions of Kitaro keyboardist Brian BecVar. Most of the selections are taken at a relaxed pace, including "Triumph," which is a reworking of "Thunder March," a Friedman staple. Megadeth drummer Nick Menza appears on a few tracks, but this is mostly an acoustic guitar/keyboard session. The compositions do not stand out as much as they later would on his masterpiece Introduction; rather, the allure here is the dreamy ambience. This recording marked the true arrival of one of the most important and original guitarists to emerge from the neo-classical genre. ~ Robert Taylor