Tony MACALPINE: Edge of Insanity LP 1986 Absolutely fantastic album, killer line up (Steve Smith drums, Billy Sheehan bass). Check audio (whole album)

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Soloing over dramatic minor key vamps, MacAlpine catalogues his impressive licks at top speed. But while his chops on the guitar are quite astounding, what is more impressive is that he is equally adept at playing the keyboard. So there plenty of exciting guitar/keyboard interplay here including duelling solo sections and unison or harmonized runs that is quite dazzling. Album highlights include the laid-back album closer, “”No Place in Time,”” and MacAlpine impressive unaccompanied piano performance of Chopin Prelude 16, Opus 28.
All songs written and composed by Tony MacAlpine, except where noted.
# Title Length
1. “”Wheel of Fortune”” 3:43
2. “”The Stranger”” 3:59
3. “”Quarter to Midnight (Live Solo)”” 2:24
4. “”Agrionia”” 4:31
5. Untitled (intro to track 6, only separated on the Roadrunner Records reissue) 0:57
6. “”Empire in the Sky”” 4:57
7. “”The Witch and the Priest”” 3:33
8. “”The Taker”” 3:22
9. “”Chopin, Prelude 16, Opus 28″” (Frederic Chopin) 1:20
10. “”Edge of Insanity”” 4:18
11. “”The Raven”” 4:13
12. “”No Place in Time”” 4:00

Personnel:
Tony MacAlpine – guitar, keyboard, bass guitar (track 8)
Steve Smith – drums
Billy Sheehan – bass guitar (except track 8)
Mike Varney – production

5.0 out of 5 stars The best album you’ve never heard,
Putting Tony Macalpine together with Billy Sheehan put this album over the top. While other bassists such as Tony Franklin serve well as a backdrop to Macalpine virtuoso assault on guitar and keyboard, Sheehan takes it to the next level with acrobatic bass counters. How Macalpine has never gotten more press is one of the great mysteries…..
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5.0 out of 5 stars Not for the weak: Intense and frantic,
Some people just don’t “”get”” this LP. This is guitar playing compositional excellence. It is fast and furious, but unlike many other similar guitarists, it is NOT a “”fast for fast sake”” endless repetition of scale after high-speed scale. The songs are very well written, complex, multi-layered compositions.
The classical influence is obvious, and his skill is considerable. As someone that enjoys music from speed metal to pop to going to an orchestra now and then, I see this music for what it is, highly skilled song-writing played by an excellent performer. I was absorbed by this LP the moment I first heard it almost 20 years ago, it is like Beethoven on crack.
Especially if you’ve never heard Tony MacAlpine before at all, it is hard to really gauge him by short little sound samples. You won’t “”get”” many of these songs until you listen to them a few times and let them sink in. I’ll try to give you my sense of this LP: frantic, intense, cold, calculated, complex, and precise.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Greatest album of it genre,
If there was one album i had to pick that should be heard by everyone i would have to choose edge of insanity. Not because it is the greatest album ever (which it very near is) but because not only have most people not been exposed to good neo-classical or shred music (which there is not very much of) but because edge of insanity is the only shred album which i would rank with the likes of Beethoven or Chopin. If someone asked me to name just one album that has been the most influential in my life it would be this album. This is the album that me and my long time friends grew up listening to and falling in love with. Tony opens doors that have never been walked near and explores worlds you never imagined. BUY BUY BUY!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Premier musicianship,
I feel this album is set apart from so much of the other somewhat stale (to me) whizzy-whizzy guitar playing from the 80, Satriani, Vai, et al. Macalpine is a very talented songwriter who sounds like he making a Bach-type classical song for modern times with distortion and fast drums, very interesting songs. Throw into the mix that he a ridiculously good musician, and the album is killer.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An early masterpiece.,
This album was my introduction to Macalpine work, and I remember very well my first thought on him- Oh, my Holy God, who is this guy??? Why do you create people that inspire and humilliate us normal humans, in first place??? Well, Tony, Macalpine is such a guy, an incrediblely talented musician, period. They are many excellent guitar players out there, but Tony is unique, his technique is flawless, his speed and repertoire simply amazing. Get this album now and find out what I am taking about.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Still Awesome,
I’ve had this album for over twenty years, and it still one of my favorates. For any “”seasoned”” guitar player that knows about playing with soul, as well as technique, this is album is a must have. “”Empire In the Sky”” still puts a lump in my throat.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A natural flow,
I have many records by Tony Macalpine and whenever I feel like listening to some killer guitar I usually stick this album in the stereo. What is amazing about this guy is that he can play classical piano to a high degree as well as the guitar. If anybody recently watched the Live at Astoria, London DVD by Steve Vai, Mr Macalpine is in the band and he made an excellent contribution.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Killin’,
This is killing and Tony MacAlpine is the MAN. Every track is beyond great and his technique is unbelievable. His musical vocabulary is way bigger than even Yngwie ever was. A few of u may have a hard time stomaching that, but it the real deal, just like this LP. If u wanna hear a ferocious attack on virtuoso guitar, buy this album!”


Άλλο ένα εξαιρετικό instrumental ντεμπούτο βιρτουόζου κιθαρίστα από τη Shrapnel, εκείνη τη χρονιά και μιλάμε για τον «πολύ» Tony Macalpine. Ο Macalpine, με κλασικές σπουδές και πτυχίο πιάνου, έπιασε την κιθάρα και της έδωσε να καταλάβει. Την ίδια χρονιά, είχε παίξει πλήκτρα στο ντεμπούτο του Vinnie Moore, αλλά το “Edge of insanity”, είναι η δική του προσπάθεια να μπει –με επιτυχία- στην κορυφή των shredders. Με συνοδοιπόρους στο άλμπουμ τον Billy Sheehan στο μπάσο και τον Steve Smith στα τύμπανα, το αποτέλεσμα δεν θα μπορούσε να είναι παρά εκπληκτικό. Ξεκινώντας από το opening track, “Wheel of fortune”, ο συνδυασμός απαράμιλλης τεχνικής σε κιθάρα και πλήκτρα γίνεται αισθητός, με μελωδίες που σου κολλάνε στο μυαλό αλλά και θέματα που θα ζήλευαν πάρα πολλές heavy/power μπάντες. Μέχρι εκείνη τη χρονιά, όταν μιλούσαμε για shredder με ρίζες στην κλασική μουσική, εννοούσαμε μόνο τον Malmsteen, μέχρι που ήρθαν ο Vinnie Moore και ο Macalpine και άλλαξαν τα δεδομένα μία και καλή. Φοβερές στιγμές, όπως το “Empire in the sky” ή η μπαλάντα “No place in time”, φανερώνουν ένα μουσικό που δεν έχει ταβάνι κι αυτό φάνηκε στη μετέπειτα καριέρα του και την μετεξέλιξη που είχε σαν παίχτης. μιλάμε για εξαιρετικό ντεμπούτο! [Σάκης Φράγκος]

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