December 21, 2015 Vinnie Moore – Aerial Visions (Album Review)
Guitar virtuoso Vinnie Moore’s 39-year career has spanned playing bars and clubs as a 12-year-old boy to being part of bands such as Vicious Rumors on their 1985 Soldiers of Night, and Alice Cooper’s 1991 Hey Stoopid, to his time currently as a member of England’s UFO. Perhaps one of the most influential guitarists of the ’80s, Moore has also had his share of solo releases, dating back to his 1986 debut, Mind’s Eye. Always a busy musician, Moore found time to put together his sixth solo album in October of 2015, Aerial Visions. Marking his first solo release since 2009’s To The Core, this album features Tim Lehner on keyboard, Moore, Dave LaRue, Rob De Luca, Elliott Dean Rubinson, and Dorian Heartsong sharing bass roles, and Richie Monica on drums. Produced by Moore himself at Shorefire Recording Studio in Long Branch, New Jersey and The Core in Northern California, the album is loaded with eye-opening tracks laid out over forty-seven plus minutes.
Beginning with the instrumental “Mustang Shuffle,” it is a rousing bit of Funk and Swing with Moore all over the fret as the guys bring back up, heavy bass, and Monica brings a lightness to the drums. Next, “Now’s the Time” begins with a clean feedback note that turns into a laid back piece of rolling notes followed by some choppy and frilly notes. About midway, Moore throws in some cosmic effects as he plays with the strings, giving the song a Psychedelic flavor. Moving onto “Faith,” listeners are treated to an Arabian/Western mix. It is on this track listeners gets the image of a dusk setting, looking at the sky, and taking it all in. Then “Slam” starts immediately with a high-tempo, Funk vibe as Moore’s dizzyingly, fluidly playing transitions to a choppier sound, then back. Afterwards, “La Grange” has a ZZ Top feel too Moore’s playing as he does a real high-tempo Swing melody that cuts loose with the bass just under and over the surface while the drums keep pace.
As Aerial Visions moves along, “Looking Back” is a ballad of twangy guitar play sweetly serenading listeners, taking them back to, say, that first love. Here, the lead guitar and the bass rolling in tandem is brilliant. This is followed by the title track, which is a head-bopping funky-fresh piece that soars lightly, then, dips into valleys, and soars again. A roller coaster of musical emotion, the last third of the song transitions into a hit, poppy, vibe like dancing among the clouds. “A Dark Dream” has an atmospheric, airy feel in the twangy guitar, then, the drums kick in for the heavy accompanied by the bass. The play then turns into a frenetic melody, which accentuates the chaos and beauty of the dream state. With the record beginning to wind down, “Calling Out” has a plaintive feel in the opening that turns a little aggressive with the double-entendre meaning. The piece has a light feel like talking to a loved one, but at the same time, there’s a bit of smugness like giving someone their just desserts. “A Million Miles Gone” brings Aerial Visions to a close with a bit of reminiscing and longing in this acoustic slow tempo, low key piece with a Latin bent. Then, the electric guitar comes in to bring in the weight, soaring to the stratosphere. Midway, the tune takes on an urgency that signifies there must be forward movement to life.
Vinnie Moore’s illustrious career has led him to this point…to Aerial Visions. Hardcore and sentimental at the same time, the album can evoke the whole gamut of emotions one can feel…not just on the first listen, but every listen thereafter. CrypticRock gives Aerial Visions 5 out of 5 stars.