JOE STUMP – Shredology & Midwest Shredfest

JOE STUMP - Shredology & Midwest Shredfest


Leviathan Records
Release date: March 29, 2005

Guitars: A
Bass: B
Percussion: B
Recording Quality: A- for Shredology, D+ for Midwest Shredfest
Originality: A-
Overall Rating: A

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

What separates Joe Stump from all of the other instrumental guitarists out there is his total commitment to bone-crushing Metal. Stump, the head rock and Metal guitar instructor at the Berklee School of Music in Boston, USA, simply goes balls out from beginning to end in both his studio work and during his concerts … his playing is fast, inspired, and aggressive from the word “go,” and his songs, though well-structured and cohesive, show a true love for in-your-face power and a “no-nonsense” approach to Instrumental Metal. Stump doesn’t play recording games or toy around with special effects … instead, his guitar playing and songwriting sieges your sound system like a starved Tasmanian Devil at a Hasenpfeffer Smorgasbord. Unlike Satriani or Vai or Malmsteen, who like to slice in occasional change ups and have been known to blend various musical styles into their Metal-based instrumentals, Stump opts instead to stay the course, appealing, most certainly, to true Metal enthusiasts who want a plethora of tasty licks, riffs, and a barrage of innovative and brilliant solos.

With more than a handful of solo instrumental records under his belt since 1993, and an additional small handful with his vocal group The Reign Of Terror, Stump, under David T. Chastain’s Leviathan Records label, has extracted his 14 “favorite” tracks from his previous releases (excluding his most recent release Speed Metal Messiah released under Lion Music), along with a new bonus track called “The Drill,” into a “best of” CD appropriately entitled Shredology. Yep, there’s more shredding going on in this Stump CD than in a toothpick factory … simply put, if you’re a fan at all of Instrumental Metal, this CD is indeed a “must have.” For those who are not overly familiar with Stump, well, here’s your chance to get acquainted with him. All of the tracks on Shredology are indeed winners, and all follow true-to-form with Stump’s philosophy towards guitar playing of putting his axe through extreme torture and suffering, generating continuous blistering solos and jam sessions that never allow the listener to come up for air (except for about 1:46 during the acoustic-based “Never Forgotten”). From top to bottom, however, you’re just not going to find a better pure guitar-based Instrumental Metal CD out there anywhere.

Now, for Stump fans out there who may be saying to themselves right now, “Sounds great, but I already have all of Stump’s stuff … why should I run out and purchase this ‘best of’ CD?” Partnering with the shrewd and savvy music business veteran Chastain, the decision was wisely made to issue this release with a 2nd CD — entitled Midwest Shredfest — a live “official bootleg” recording of a Stump concert from Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. The production quality of this concert is definitely of “bootleg” quality, but it’s at least consistent, and the CD as a whole shows that Stump can certainly shred the piss out of his guitar in a live setting in similar fashion to his studio recordings. If anything, the “natural” sound of the CD highlights even further the energy Stump squeezes out of his guitar … you can almost smell the smoke that is surely emanating from the fret board as his axe screams for mercy. That said, there is certainly plenty here for Stump fans of old to get excited about too!

In sum, if you’re a Metal fan who only purchases say 4 or 5 CDs per year, this Stump Shredology compilation should without a doubt be one of them if you enjoy Instrumental Metal in the least bit. This CD can indeed serve many purposes … as a pick-me-up after a frustrating day, as a motivator when trying to muster up the energy to stay faithful to an exercise regiment, or as a stress-relieving sedative when you just want to admire the remarkable Metal craftsmanship and guitar wizardry while laying back on the couch with the lights out. Stump indeed showcases the fact that he’s a master Metal virtuoso in this 2-disc set … so do yourself a favor and go get a copy of this release to further round out your music collection.


  • 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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