Monte Pittman: The Power Of Three (2013) Album Review



Artist Monte Pittman Album The Power of Three Producer Flemming Rasmussen Year Released: 21 January 2014
Label Metal Blade Records Genre Heavy Metal

The opening track to Monte Pittman’s new album, The Power of Three, couldn’t be a better descriptor for the man or the album – this will be the sleeper hit of 2014, it’s that good.

Released last week, on January 21, 2014, I’ve been listening to the album non-stop all week. Quite honestly, I can’t find fault in it. Sure, I could say that the death metal growls, provided by ex-Cannibal Corpse vocalist Chris Barnes, on “All Is Fair in Love and War” seem out of place, but, somehow, on this album dominated by rock-styled vocals the growls work, they’re even magical. I could also say that sometimes Pittman’s guitar tone or use of the wah wah pedal are a little too similar to what Metallica’s Kirk Hammett does, but there’s good reason for that and, besides, it’s subtle enough to be overlooked.

monte pittman - the power of three - coverThe Power of Three is an album that demands you to crank the volume knob to 11. And when you’re listening to someone of Pittman’s caliber on guitar, there’s always something new to discover in every song. What’s more is that Pittman is more than a flashy, showy guitarist (he’s a god, and he should show off), he can write a fucking song. There’s not a song on this album that you don’t want to sing along with.

I believe that what makes these songs so great, and the sing-along quality so compelling, is the hard rock roots in them. More than anywhere else on the album, the hard rock comes out in the singing and vocal melodies, and then, perhaps, in the overall structures of the songs. “Everything’s Undone” is the track that probably leans heaviest on hard rock, especially Aerosmith circa 1973.

The Power of Three is, however, indisputably a heavy metal album. So much so that, at 37 years old, it seems like Pittman finally lost his virginity and had a metal orgasm, releasing everything he’s ever known or loved about metal and put it all into The Power of Three. Not that he’s a stranger to heavy metal; he played with Prong from roughly 2000 to 2009, and his first band as a teen was a metal band.

monte pittman - the power of three review

The metal on this album comes from virtually every corner of the heavy metal universe, but, because Pittman can write a damn good song, it all blends together like a perfect cocktail. From thrash to chugging groove to some progressive sounds to guitar virtuoso to rapid-fire riffing… it’s just an eargasm to listen to.

I have a sense that Pittman has drawn great influence from Dave Mustaine for his thrash riffing (“Before the Mourning Son”), Kirk Hammett for his thrash solos (“Delusions of Grandeur”), Dimebag Darrell for his groove (“Blood Hungry Thirst”), and a lot more sources. The thing is, he’s taken all that old-school awesomeness and made something entirely original and forward-looking with it.

To help him create this masterpiece, Pittman enlisted Kane Ritchotte (drums) and Max Whipple (bass), neither of whom ever played this style of metal before. According to what Pittman told us in our interview with him, Kane and Max have more progressive backgrounds. Additionally, Pittman called upon Flemming Rasmussen (Metallica’s Ride the Lighting, Master of Puppets, and …And Justice for All) to produce. I told you there was a reason for there being some similarities between Pittman’s and Hammett’s playing.

Monte Pittman – The Power of Three Track List:

1. “A Dark Horse”
2. “Delusions of Grandeur”
3. “Everything’s Undone”
4. “Blood Hungry Thirst”
5. “On My Mind”
6. “Away From Here”
7. “Before the Mourning Son”
8. “End of the World”
9. “Missing”
10. “All Is Fair in Love and War”

The Verdict:

Like I said, The Power of Three is the sleeper hit of the year and an easy entry on the best of 2014. If you want metal with hard rock sensibilities and superior guitar playing, this is the album for you. We all love our heavier-than-heavy shit, but this album is a breath of fresh air while navigating very close to the metal we love.

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