Ron Thal - _The Adventures of Bumblefoot_
(Shrapnel, 1995)
by: Brian Meloon (4 out of 10)
When I first heard Ron's "Chopin Fantasie" on Shrapnel's 1992 comp, _Ominous Guitarists from the Unknown_, I was blown away. Upon hearing that he was releasing his first solo album, I had high hopes for it. Unfortunately, neither that track nor anything else that good is on this album. Instead what we get is an unfocused collection of primarily rock instrumentals. Ron is definitely a great guitarist, with a distinctive style - when he chooses to play it. He plays a fluid sort of jazzy-metal, sounding almost like he's playing random notes, or what I'd call "computer music." It's definately not a linear sound, and I really like it. Unfortunately, Ron doesn't take the music seriously enough on this effort, instead going for a goofy style, trying to be humorous. Sometimes it sort of works, but most of the time it doesn't. The other big complaint I have is that Ron tries to cover too many styles, including an almost flamenco-style acoustic piece, and the obligatory banal bluesy stuff. The production is up to the usually excellent Shrapnel standards, and the playing is wonderful, but this needs focus and some inspiration. As it is, it sounds like a good, versatile guitarist trying to prove he's a good, versatile guitarist. Ron has much more potential than he is exploiting.

(article published 18/4/1996)

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