Visions of Speed and Thunder

Maxxxwell Carlisle

Straight out of Los Angeles, California comes the muscular Virtuoso shredder and guitar slinger Maxwell […]
By YngwieViking
March 25, 2015
Maxxxwell Carlisle - Visions of Speed and Thunder album cover

Straight out of Los Angeles, California comes the muscular Virtuoso shredder and guitar slinger Maxwell McHugh Carlisle aka Maxxxwell Carlisle.

Born and raised in Washington, Maxxxwell Carlisle began to study music at the age of 8, playing the violin. He later switched to electric guitar, and at the age of 15 he founded his first band, GRACEFUL CHAOS.

He also started a solo career in parallel with his other passion, the body-building competition... He released many independent releases and played with former ANTHRAX vocalist Neil Turbin in his live touring band DEATHRIDERS. In 2013, Maxxxwell was added to the new HELLION team fronted by the legendary Miss Ann Boleyn with also some very prominent players from the DIO's DISCIPLES ranks as Bjorn Engelen (ex YJM's RISING FORCE/SOUL SIGN), Scott Warren (ex KEEL/ex HEAVEN & HELL) or drummer Simon Wright (ex ACDC/ex DIO). The Iconic Los Angeles, California based Heavy Metal band HELLION went to record new material with legendary producer Ken Scott (THE STONES/PINK FLOYD) , the first of which has been released on the HELLIONs anthology album named "To Hellion and Back". In October of 2014, HELLION has released an EP of all new material, "Karma's a Bitch" and embarked on a successful North American Tour, frontwoman Ann Boleyn announced a live album, featuring recordings taken from that very tour, yet to be released in 2015.

Maxxxwell was also recently featured on the highly acclaimed Michael Angelo Batio CD, "Intermezzo", which was nominated for Shred Album of the Year by Guitar World Magazine... And highly recommended by yours truly. His high energy blazing licks and many guitar pyrotechnics leads him to recognition among the shredders community and a real credibility in the Traditional Metal circles! After the success of his latest EP "Full Metal Thunder" that was released in 2013...The musical chairs starts to spin again and now we have a brand new line up for this full length album "Visions of Speed and Thunder".

The particularity of this album its that it feature two different vocalist and many old tracks re-recorded for clearly what could be considered as the best of Maxxxwell Carlisle solo works! Stylistically you won't surprise by the fact that it sounds like a coherent mix of ALCATRAZZ / DIO / IMPELLITTERI / CHASTAIN / RACER X or modern RIOT / VIRGIN STEELE with some obvious reminiscence from the late 90's Mike Vescera's fronted LOUDNESS identity... The lyrics are mostly about the supremacy and the sheer power of the Metal, and the glorious sonic thunderstorm of the electric God fire and steeeeeeel etc...

My only concern and a slight misleading negative point is about the flat female vocals provided by the rookie Melody Schoenfeld on tracks such as "Power Angel" or in the weak HELLOWEEN parody of "Visions Of Victory" that simply don't do the trick for me.

The other thing that is a little disappointing, it's the very low key aspect of some lyrics such in "Ramming Speed" and maybe the too easy riff driven method, that lead too often to a ShredFest is perhaps too systematic (?) notably in "Full Metal Thunder" even if I really enjoy the whole primal basic concept of that song like HAMMERFALL meets C.J.S.S. meets KENZINER. However the title track is the perfect musical path to follow in the future, it has all, the heavy bottom end, some epic arrangements and beautiful suspenseful atmosphere provided by layers of clever keyboards, with a great balance between galloping riffage and majestic tones and most of all some amazing vocal performances! Same two thumb-up for "Marching With The Dragons" that confirm some MANOWAR/VIRGIN STEELE epic flavors, the instrumentation here is especially tight, and the final choir is really amazing, this cut is uplifted by another magical singing courtesy of Mr Michael Yancy.

Of course, the mandatory instrumental section is thrilling, "Thunder Fortress" is kind of over-indulgent but jubilant and fun, finally it's a good way to pummeling your senses with a some sweeping six strings attack! The rendition of "Duet For electric guitar and electric cello in A minor" with Tina Guo is still quite interesting both from the technical point of view than from the creative spark...Another experimentation to explore in the future in my opinion! The final "Speed Force" is another blast of double pedal kick with simplistic harmonic structure with a constant barrage of intense ulta-fast picking & Shredding chops avalanche!

The devoted guitar freaks and the True Headbanging axe maniacs will enjoy that one...Even, if it's a little inconstant in the songwriting method and tedious to reach the highest state of my approval, this album is still quite recommended anyway to my fellow guitar addicts!

8 / 10


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"Visions of Speed and Thunder" Track-listing:

1. Visions of Speed and Thunder
2. Marching with the Dragons
3.Full Metal Thunder
4. The Power of Metal Compels Me
5. Power Angel
6. Visions of Victory
7. Ramming Speed
8. Thunder Fortress
9. Duet for Electric Cello and Electric Guitar in A minor
10. Axis Accelerator
11. Speed Force 

Maxxxwell Carlisle Lineup:

Dave Chedrick - Drums
Melody Schoenfeld - Lead Vocals
Michael Yancy - Lead Vocals
Maxxxwell Carlisle - Lead Guitars / Bass / Keyboards
Tina Guo - Cello

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