Maelstrom - _Eye of the Storm_
by: Alain M. Gaudrault (not rated)
Who'd have thought that anybody would have the balls to release an instrumental demo? Maelstrom have done just that, producing a quite impressive product, a "concept demo album" as the band puts it. The idea was to do something that had not previously been done, and to possibly involve listeners by encouraging them to write their own lyrics, or even to jam along with one's favourite instrument. How successful are they in their endeavour? Methinks they've listened to one too many Judas Priest albums. If you've got Rob Halford's pipes, by all means, get your hands on a copy of _Eye of the Storm_ and wail away. While the Tipton/Downing influence is great, most of the solos are very neo-classical, a la Ygnwie Malmsteen; and yes, this combination of styles does work. The songs are actually very enjoyable, and the riffs even occasionally memorable, which is saying a lot for an instrumental album. Unfortunately, I just don't consider Maelstrom on par in terms of musicianship with their two primary musical influences. The drums and bass are particularly unexciting, leaving guitars as the single source of appeal. Nonetheless, a solid effort, indicative of their determination to be heard and appreciated, and possible good things to come. Their next release is said to be heavier and will feature a full lineup, including vocalist. For fans of hard-driving heavy metal, this is worth a listen, although its appeal may be limited these days.

Contact: Maelstrom c/o RawSound Records, 10200 USA Today Way

(article published 8/11/1995)


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