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Marc Rizzo – Legionnaire (CD Review)

Marc Rizzo's Legionnaire (CD Review)Marc Rizzo may not exactly be a household name, but I have no doubt that this guitar extraordinaire will be on the tip of your tongue for a long time after one listen to his newest CD, Legionnaire.  Whether you know it or not, if you are a true metal fan, then you definitely should be familiar with some of his previous projects.  Just in case, let me jog your memory for you.   Mark is the lead guitarist of the American metal band Soulfly and formerly of Ill Nino.  I remember Ill Nino fondly from a Roadrunner Records sampler CD I inherited many years ago.  Anyway, Mark has been prominently featured on four Soulfly albums to date and he has released three solo instrumental records, including the one we are about to talk about in more detail below, Legionnaire.

I’m not going to lie; I’m not the greatest fan of appreciating musical works without vocals.  Despite being a former guitarist myself, I tend to find myself gravitating more and more towards commercial radio nowadays in my older age.  Although, that’s not to say I can’t appreciate good music and recognize sheer virtuoso talent when I hear it.  And that’s exactly what we have here with Rizzo’s Legionnaire.  One listen to this CD in my Walkman during a recent workout and I was instantly crazed.  The guitar shredding and eccentric styles employed upon the release motivated me throughout my entire 1.5-hour workout.  That’s when I know something is good.  When it comes to Marc Rizzo, who needs vocals?  They simply become overrated.  Who am I?  I can’t believe I just said it.  But it’s true!

Remember just a few sentences ago I used the word ‘eccentric’ to describe this CD release?  Well there’s no better word I can use when describing the wide range of styles utilized by Marc Rizzo.  He manages to combine and fuse elements of hard rock, metal, classical, flamenco and even some fusion-jazz.  But most importantly, he manages to embrace all those styles and makes them sound cohesive and never out of place with one another.  That’s the important thing to remember here.  Anybody can learn those styles.  But if you can blend them all and make them sound like they belong together, then that’s where the real talent lies.  Heck, the man even has a signature 7 string B.C. Rich Stealth model built for him.  There’s really no sound or style he can’t hammer out and dial in on one of those.

Legionnaire is put out on Marc’s indie created label Phlamencore Records.  He started the record label in 2004 with his brother Luke.  Like I stated before, the CD is Marc’s third instrumental solo album.  It took a little over two years to produce from start to finish.  It’s definitely one of the finest instrumental albums I have ever had the privilege to listen to in my 35-year existence on this planet.  I usually break my CD reviews down track-by-track and dissect them individually by the particular’s song’s content, topic and production value.  That’s kind of hard to do on an instrumental album because despite my best efforts I really have no vocals to go by in best guessing what the song’s central theme and/or plot is about.  I decided instead to talk about the album briefly as a cohesive whole and I have included the CD album artwork and back cover below for reference.  Let’s get started!

The first song on the CD really lays the groundwork and sets the tone of what is to come.  I mean, how can you beat a song named “Release the Kraken?”  Quite simply, you can’t!  He shreds this one up from the very start and I could not be happier with this track.   Don’t you think the song’s title aligns perfectly with this March’s Clash of the Titans in theaters? 

Some examples of Marc’s mastery of the acoustic guitar are showcased on tracks #7 “Peaks and Valleys” and # 8 “Legionnaire.”  I am at a loss for words here.  It’s quite beautiful really.  The tempo never slows and I have no idea how this man’s fingers can move so quickly, yet gracefully along those acoustic strings.   Don’t let the acoustic undertones and introductions on these songs fool you, as Marc takes no prisoners in resurrecting his trademark shredding styles within.  I would say track #7 is as close as we come to the advertised flamenco playing style I mentioned above.  And in track #8, after the acoustic intro, Marc hits us straight in the face with a full out metal onslaught that Dimebag Darrell would no doubt be proud of.  Marc is a one-man army sent to slay the masses here.

Track #2, “…By Great Odin’s Beard,” busts down the proverbial gates right from the start as it knocks down everything in its way.  Track #3, “Bandidas,” obviously carries a more subtle Mexican metal sound to it.  Track #4, “Victim in Shred,” momentarily slows the pace down a bit initially, but as the title implies, enter the shredding of Marc Rizzo!  I think you get the picture.  If you want a place to rest your head, then you will probably find your solitude with the mostly peaceful track # 5 “The Emerald Goblet.”  Take notice that I said mostly peaceful.  Rest assured, you will find your tranquility among Marc’s harmonies, but you will also find moments where Marc makes a subtle statement or two.  Overall, it’s a dynamic track that plays out well.

I am a very long-winded writer, so I can go on and on.  But for the first time in my life, I am going to shut up.  Instead, I am going to let the music speak for itself.  You can either sit here and read my praise for this album for another ten minutes or you can be well on your way to listening to the album’s first track and deciding for yourself.  If I were you, I think you should pick the latter.  In case there is any doubt, let me set the record straight once and for all.  If you are a fan of Satriani, Vai and Malmsteen, then without any hesitation I urge you to let your fingers do the walking and head on over to Marc’s official website right now (marcrizzo.net), preview a track and purchase the CD for your everyday listening enjoyment.  And make sure to stop back here next week (well really everyday for that matter), as we just may surprise you with an exclusive interview.  You never know.  Thanks for reading! 

Marc Rizzo's Legionnaire CD Cover 

Marc Rizzo's Legionnaire

 

 

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Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

1 Response to “Marc Rizzo – Legionnaire (CD Review)”


  1. Gregg

    This is a great run-down for those (like myself) not familiar with this guy’s work. It sounds like he definitely brings some originality to the table…that alone is a scarce trait sometimes in today’s world of music. I couldn’t help but notice the first track being a tip of the hat to the old “Clash of the Titans.” I will undoubtedly give this album a listen. Thanks for the insight.