October 9, 2019 Vinnie Moore – Soul Shifter (Album Review)
The enduring guitar player was one of the prolific ones in the Metal world, along with his fellow six-string shredders Joe Satriani, Paul Gilbert, and Yngwie Malmsteen, all of whom have released their respective new albums recently. Born on April 14th, 1964, in New Castle, Delaware, United States, the guitarist extraordinaire in the spotlight is Vinnie Moore. Primarily a solo artist, he became also the lead guitar player of the Metal bands Vicious Rumors, Alice Cooper, and most notably UFO for the last 15 plus years.
As a solo artist, Moore released his debut record, Mind’s Eye, in 1986 which was followed by eight albums more, from 1988’s Time Odyssey to his latest unleashed Soul Shifter. Released on Wednesday, October 9th, 2019, via My Mind’s Eye Music, Moore’s ninth offering is a collection of Soul-and-Blues–oriented instrumentals that featured guest appearances from Rudy Sarzo and Jordan Rudess, with Richie Monica and John Pessoni on drums, Michael Bean on bass, and John Cassidy on keyboards.
His first solo LP since 2015’s Aerial Visions, Soul Shifter, complete with 10 new songs, opens with the obviously funky groove of “Funk Bone Jam.” Next is a slower jam, more melodic and eye-closing—“Same Sun Shines,” with the guitar scaling both swaying and bubbling at the same time. The ensuing “Kung Fu Grip” then returns the mood to Funk-land, a bit groovier and more playful. Then there “Mystified” which is a sonic postcard from the 1990s—romantic, melodramatic, perfect for a dim-lit affair reminiscing the Glam Metal sound of the said decade. With the following “Brother Carlos,” Moore pays a fitting tribute to one of not only his but definitely many other guitarists’ icons—Carlos Santana—by emulating the latter’s distinctive guitar playing.
Moore speeds up the journey once again with “Gainesville Station,” only to take the train down to the countryside, bluesy mooning of “Soul Rider” and “Mirage.” Nearing the end of the ride, Moore then swings the listener to the lovely hammock of “Heard You Were Gone.” Finally, the unwavering Moore wraps up Soul Shifter aptly with another anthemic track—a perfect closer—“Across the Ages”—which will remind the initiated of similarly affecting, now classic masterpieces by the likes of Steve Vai (“For the Love of God”), Jason Becker (“Altitudes”), and Marty Friedman (“Forbidden City”).
Among the few of his kind, Vinnie Moore with his style is easily distinguishable from the slew of similar musicians in the genre. His tone, sequence, and precision is part of his trademark. That in mind, Soul Shifter is another shiny pick on his sleeve. Soul awakening… spirit uplifting… Cryptic Rock gives this album 4 out of 5 stars.