John Macaluso - Drummer
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Review

John Macaluso’s Union Radio - The Radio Waves Goodbye (Remastered)

Having played with the likes of YngwieMalmsteen, James LaBrie, Riot, Symphony X and Starbreaker, former TNT and ARK drummer John Macaluso is one of the most prolific and respected names when it comes to the realms of Hard Rock, Heavy Metal and Prog-Metal. He is also one of the most technically skilled drummers in rock. His hard hitting yet unorthodoxly unique style is atypical of the genres mentioned as he can swing like Buddy Rich, play flawlessly and technical a la Neil Peart and yet turn it around and bash like a man possessed reminiscent of his Idol, Keith Moon.

I have followed John’s career closely since his stint in TNT and I have witnessed him evolve from a pretty amazing drummer to a full-fledged creative force and this fact is strongly cemented by his latest release ‘The Radio Waves Goodbye’.  Now, Ark’s ‘Burn The Sun’ is one of my favorite albums of all time and John was an intricate part of that album and it clearly shows on this release as he co-wrote all the songs and wrote all the lyrics and vocal melodies. Sound impressive? Wait until you listen to this album.

I will come out and say that I absolutely love this album, I love the performances, the production (recently re-mastered), the creativity but most of all I love the songs. Originally released in 2007, ‘The Radio Waves Goodbye’ was way ahead of it’s time and now in 2016 sounds new and refreshing and in many ways, exciting. For this record, Macaluso has surrounded himself with a stellar cast of musicians from all over the world such as James LaBrie (Dream Theater), Vitalij Kuprij (Artension), Mike DiMeo (Riot), FabrizioGrossi (Starbreaker), Chris Caffery (Savatage/TSO), Jack Frost (Savatage/Seven Witches), Brazilian Bassist Ze Gray, French Multi-Instrumentalist and Songwriter DiMuti, Alex Masi and of course the late, great Randy Coven (ARK). Also featured were two musicians whose work I wasn’t as familiar with but they totally kill on this album – Russian Guitarist Alex Rastopchin and Swiss Vocalist Adrian Holtz.

The Album opens with a progressive masterpiece, ‘Soul In Your Mind’ featuring James LaBrie and it takes you on quite the ride, the albums dynamics play like a Hitchcock movie in the sense that they keep you engaged, expecting a surprise at every turn and excited to discover what comes next – and you’ll want to keep playing it many times. This album has many layers and takes you on a journey through many musical realms, it even manages to do that within the songs themselves such as in the Ark-ish ‘Mother Illusion’ and the Zappa-esque ‘Away With Words’. 

And yes, there are plenty of drums as Macaluso turns in the best and most creative performance of his career – the drums sound just amazing and again are a featured lead instrument yet tasteful and very much within the songs. That being said John does take your head off with surgical precision with the closer ‘Exile Tonic’ a song that joins the likes of Moby Dick in drum heaven.

All in all this album is everything a Prog/Metal fan will want and love, it’s fast, furious, moody, tribal, heavy, dark, eclectic and most of all fun. The Radio may be waving goodbye, but trust me, you will be waving hello! Tune in!

- Henry Bocanegra

 

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