MCM – Ritual Factory

MCM - Ritual Factory


Lion Music
Release date: 2nd Quarter 2004

Guitars: B+
Bass: A-
Percussion: C+
Recording Quality: C
Originality: A
Overall Rating: C-

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

MCM is the acronym for Alex Masi on guitar, Randy Coven (Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteen) on bass guitar, and John Macaluso (TNT, Yngwie Malmsteen, Riot) on drums. Together, they’ve put together 11 tracks for the instrumental album entitled Ritual Factory, released via Lion Music.

MCM has taken on an interesting style, which essentially is a version of the old 1970s Krautrock genre, with the benefit of modern production technology. For those who may not have had the privilege of being exposed to music of the Krautrock era, a more current description, in genre terms, would be a mixture of Instrumental Metal (e.g., Joe Satriani) and Guitar-Orientated Jazz (e.g., Pat Metheny). The musical jams are often “way out there” as far as structure and rhythm are concerned, and there’s plenty of sections within most of the songs where each instrument just sort of “takes off” at a fast pace and proceeds to go haywire.

The biggest drawback from the Krautrock era was the “musical wadding” thrown into many of the recordings, which made it difficult to keep your attention focused on the music for extended periods of time when listening to an entire album. Unfortunately, the same is essentially the case with Ritual Factory. The musicianship is generally excellent, but the songs simply lack focus. Also, instrumental albums NEED to tell a story or create a “feel” via the music to truly be successful. There are plenty of cool song titles within this CD, like the title track “Ritual Factory,” “Dead Monkey Road,” and “Ghost In My House,” but it’s awfully hard to get relevant ambiance from any of these tracks as one might expect (or at least hope).

The production quality is also a bit skittish, with the drums generally sounding great, except for the snare drum, which is hollow and distant in sound, yet over-amplified, giving the percussion an awkward feel compared to the guitar and bass guitar. On the positive side, Coven plays some really impressive bass riffs and fills, especially when the music turns towards the “haywire” variety noted above, and Masi shows his diversity once again by delving into yet another musical style (Masi has also recently released a guitar-instrumental of several Mozart classics).

All in all, Ritual Factory is a good listen if you’re conducting a “progressive” party of sorts, and want to highlight the alternative nature of the event with a relatively obscure musical style with solid musicianship. As background conversational music for that type of event, this CD would likely fill the role admirably. Barring conducting festivities of the progressive ilk, Ritual Factory likely won’t float the boat for most Metalheadz …


  • Dan Skiba

    Dan is a former partner at Metal Express Radio, and also served as a reviewer, photographer and interviewer on occasions. Based out of Indianapolis, USA he was first turned on to Hard Rock music in the mid-1970s when he purchased Deep Purple's Machine Head as his first album. He was immediately enthralled with the powerful guitar sound and pronounced drumbeat, and had to get more! His collection quickly expanded to include as many of Heavy Rock bands of the time that he could get his hands on, such as Ted Nugent, Judas Priest, and Black Sabbath, to name just a few.

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