October 15, 2018 Marty Friedman – One Bad M.F. Live!! (Album Review)
Among the current best solo artists in Heavy Metal primarily featuring unique stylistic guitar work, top contenders include Zakk Wylde, John 5, Yngwie Malmsteen, and perhaps the most over-achieving of them all, Marty Friedman. While he is best known for his major contributions to Megadeth in the nineties, he has since moved to Japan and made quite the life and solo career for himself with no means of slowing down. Now, he is back at it again on October 19, 2018, with his special live album, One Bad M.F. Live!!, via Prosthetic Records.
As a follow-up to last year’s album release Wall Of Sound, One Bad M.F. Live!! is far higher than a novice attempt, although it is purposely kept raw. It was recorded with his band – featuring Kiyoshi on bass, Jordan Ziff on guitar, and Chargeeee on drums – during his 2018 Wall of Sound Tour on its final show in Mexico City at Centro Cultural on April 14, 2018. The fourteen-song set debuts a one-of-a-kind experience that listeners can find a certain nostalgia in, along with a new awakening.
Starting off the show with an exemplary tune, “Street Demon,” Marty Friedman expresses the unique mix of Eastern and Western guitar-stylings that he became know for. He takes a very progressive approach on neoclassical guitar techniques and never quite escapes that love for Thrash Metal he possesses, which makes for endlessly challenging and unique arrangements. Moving into the tracks “Elixer” and “Amagi Goe,” the wild guitar solos drive the message home while fun-filled, complex bass jams and thrashing drums complete the picture.
Of course, with this type of severely complex guitar technique, vocals become an unnecessary element that is not found anywhere on the album. The break-up of songs with a little commentary from Marty Friedman is what makes One Bad M. F. special in its own rite. The track “Self Pollution,” which was featured on Wall Of Sound as well, brings a Progressive Metal sound in a more somber and beautiful tone that can oddly be compared to those riffs similarly played out in technical Death Metal bands, such as Beyond Creation. The theory of relativity has always been just that and nothing more, but it must be subjected to an out-of-the-box comparison to get an other worldly appreciation for it.
The song “Mutation Medley” is all about that fast and furious bass solo, which is just about as impressive on the album as it is witnessed in a live setting. Kiyoshi is a phenomenal bassist, with charisma and passion comparable to Marty Friedman himself, and this is what makes the two of them inseparable these days. Next comes “Ripped Medley” which takes turns impressing its listeners with creative bass and then talented guitar and vice versa. If one survives this amazing climax, they are then subjected to a beautiful guitar story that immediately becomes relatable. It tells the tale of an unstable journey of self-discovery among other topics.
Much in the way that John 5 crafts his set-lists, but even more so the journey from beginning to end inspires while serving as a functional guitarists’ novel. “Dragon Mistress” is chock full of beautiful arpeggiated chords with interspersed magically-created crescendos. Following that, the journey continues with a very Japanese song called “Kaeri Taku Natta Yo,” which translates to “I Want to Go Home,” features all the best cultural highlights. Finalizing this over-achieving body of work that seems almost incomprehensible to the average guitarist is the track “Stigmata Addiction,” which encompasses a vast variety of techniques in its over seven-minutes-long length. It is a mind-bending yet soothing end to an overly complex masterpiece collection of songs recorded raw in a live setting.
The album is definitely one-of-a-kind and sort of a musical biography of Marty Friedman, including all his specialties. This proves fitting since a written biography as well as a documentary are in-the-works as just a few of the many side-projects Friedman keeps himself busy with these days. Complexities aside, everyone should be excited Friedman will performing in honor of the album release in Los Angeles at The Viper Room on October 21st, 2018. So get out there! Until then, CrypticRock gives One Bad M. F. Live!! 4.5 out of 5 stars.