Review: Tony MacAlpine’s Death Of Roses

By Andrew Catania

I have been of fan of Tony MacAlpine since the days he attended Hartt School of Music.  Like Tony, I attended Joined Forces concerts to see Legendary Guitarist Jimi Bell shred the neck off his guitar. Tony’s musical output has been a constant journey and a progression from his early releases.  Tony’s tone and technique are second to none.

Review:  Tony MacAlpine's Death Of Roses
Photo by Renee Jahnke at Slims in San Francisco, California.

Death Of Roses is the first in a 2-part release and the seven tracks are some of his most influential material yet and covers a lot of ground.  The guitars alternate with riffs to 7 and 8 strings, completed by keyboards just as monstrous as he always played. The rhythm defined by the Hungarian Gergő Borlai is equally formidable,(Scott Henderson, Gary Willis) and Pete Griffin at the bass (Generation Ax, Zappa Plays Zappa).

Tony continues his evolution with melodies energy loads, breathtaking stairs, odd and complicated rhythms, with sequencer scores performed by crazy, along with super torrents inspired and rich in pathos.   He does launch into something fast and shred-like, it’s still compositionally solid, like on “Axiomatic Jewels,” with its intricate stop-start arrangements, and incredibly modern rhythm section. “Chrome Castles” features some very Vai-esque playing, with Tony’s choice of scales and the overall smoothness of his playing instantly recalling Vai, albeit with a much catchier melody. While volumes could be written of Tony’s lead guitar style, his keyboard work on the album also deserves a fair amount of attention, where he really flexes his piano muscles in the middle section of “Synthetic Serenity” and the beginning of album closer “Shundor Prithibi”, and uses synths as backing through much of the album.

The backing band and Tony’s rhythm guitar playing are also on point throughout, taking us through some of the more typical classic-rock inspired fare usual of shred albums.  MacAlpine sounds better than ever, and his technique is inexpensive allows you to play anything of any kind.
Intelligent choice of a few songs but quality to not tune the listener with traces already complex.

Review:  Tony MacAlpine's Death Of Roses
Photo by Renee Jahnke at Slims in San Francisco, California.

The album rocks, despite its complexity; realizing another must for enthusiasts.  9/10 Rating

You can order Death Of Roses here


1. Chrome Castles
2. Electric Illusionist
3. Synthetic Serenity
4. Death Of Roses
5. Axiomatic Jewels
6. Entropy
7. Shundor Prithibi

Tony MacAlpine – guitars, keyboards
Gergő Borlai – drums, percussion
Pete Griffin – bass

You can follow Tony @



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