Lion Music
Release Date: August 24, 2006

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Live albums are like “belly buttons,” most have them, they serve no true major purpose, and if gone unloved they collect dust and lint. For whatever reason, musicians and bands are compelled (or nudged by their fans) into eventually releasing a live album. So enters instrumental guitar virtuoso Tony Hernando, Spain’s answer to Joe Satriani, with his own personal live offering, which turns out to be a potpourri of a release. Tony has chosen to do one better than most live CDs, by following the growing trend of releasing a CD and DVD combo package. Both discs offer live material, and the CD includes two remixed studio versions of previously released material, and two new studio tracks!

For those not familiar with Tony’s work, he has three solo guitar instrumental releases under his belt. The last studio release being the impressive and entertaining III — take a detour here for a review of the effort and some background on Tony himself.


The CD offers alternative songs from different live performances from the DVD as well as new mixes and new songs. The strength of the live material is Tony’s precision, fluidity and Mike Terrana’s monstrous, “Woolly Mammoth In Heat” drumming. Tony’s live performance sounds flawless, with plenty of precision, while his guitar sound is crisp and sharp. This collection of splendid live performances just further begs the mystery of why he isn’t acknowledged more in some parts of the world, especially in North America, where he’s virtually unknown. All tracks are backed by strong production, especially Terrana’s drum kit that sounds thunderous.

“The Awakening” is an exceptional highlight with all cylinders firing, the track provides quite a frantic ride, albeit short as it is, as the track clocks in at a little over four minutes. The only potential complaint by rabid fans is the inclusion of the slower, moodier “Broken Hero,” which slows the pace down quite a bit for over eight minutes. The other pitfalls are the quiet breaks between tracks, and the low, spotty audience interaction and feedback. Both of these shortcomings serve to detract from the true feeling of being in a live environment.

The remixed tracks sound solid and include support from Mike Terrana on drums, the ever-impressive Vitalij Kuprij on keys on “Outsiders,” while Victor Diez handles keys on “Behind The Catwalk.” Pepe Bao plays bass on both tracks.

“State Of Mind” and “Time To Believe” are the new offerings with Tony doing most of the work (guitars and bass) and Gerald Kloos handling the drumming detail. Both are strong Hernando cuts, with each having memorable guitar work by Tony, and should please all Hernando fans. “State Of Mind” rides on a heavy underlying bass line of Brontosaurus proportions! “Time To Believe” feels slightly experimental, with Tony providing some vocal lines, causing the track to come across as having an almost King’s X feel to it.

Track Listing CD:
The Stalker – Intro (Guitarfest 2005) * Now (Guitarfest 2005) * The Edge (Guitarfest 2005) * Truer Than Ever (Guitarfest 2005) * Duelling Waters * Into The Black * Broken Hero * Men And Machines * The Awakening * Behind the Catwalk (remix) * Outsiders (retracked and remixed) * State Of Mind (new song) * Time To Believe (new song)


Listening to a live CD is one thing, but watching Tony visually put it altogether is quite a different experience. The approximately 80-minute DVD, with its modest and no-frills production (4:3, stereo sound), is more successful in squeezing the greatest amount of “energy” from his live performance. Perhaps it’s the visuals of Hernando and Terrana in full tilt action that makes viewing it enjoyable.

Tony manages to strut his side of a rather small, indoor stage, using various guitars throughout the performance. His focus and determination give the whole performance intensity. Anyone who hasn’t seen Hernando play live should walk away from this one with a greater respect for the man as an accomplished guitarist and musician. Highlights include the driving tracks; “Now,” “The Awakening,” and “The Edge,” where Tony displays some fantastic melody along with his fretboard antics.

The seemingly ever-shirtless Mike Terrana, on the other hand, replete with Mohawk haircut, looks as ominous as ever behind his drum kit. He plays with the ferocity of someone who seems “pissed” (English connotation) at the world and looks like someone you don’t want to “tick off.” Terrana actually almost steals the show from the main man Tony. But when combined, they make nothing short of a formidable live duo.

Unfortunately, the DVD has, what some might call, “annoyances” as well, ranging from special filming effects (e.g., slow motion, transitions from color to black & white, etc.) to “blackouts” between tracks. The Main Menu also uses an initially confusing selection technique, whereby your “cursor” needs to be on the next choice in the list to select the previous menu item. The previous menu item’s text then appears in a different color, superimposed on the current menu item’s text.

For its handful of perceivable annoyances, the camera does spend a considerable amount of time on Tony, with fretboard close-ups aplenty, which is what everyone pays to see anyway. Thankfully, a lot of footage is shot from Tony’s left, which coincidentally includes Terrana in the background of the shots.

The “bonus features” are adequate, including live footage of “Men And Machines” that occasionally, randomly displays still pop-ups momentarily. Also included is Terrana’s drum solo, which is very entertaining. Without giving too much away, Mike performs some amazing stick twiddling, which should bring a smile to any fan’s face. The “Behind The Scenes Documentary” is slightly disappointing in that no one speaks. While enjoyable, it consists of video footage before and after the show, with live tracks used as a “soundtrack.” It would have been thoroughly enjoyable to hear Tony and Mike occasionally speak to the camera.

Track Listing DVD:
Into The Black * Duelling Waters * Now * The Silence Of Loss * The Awakening * The Edge * At The Crossroads

DVD Bonus Features:
Men And Machines (Video Clip & Photo Gallery) * Mike Terrana’s Drum Solo * Behind The Scenes Documentary

Bottom line, for the price (typical retail cost of a double CD release), this package offers a lot of solid live music despite some of its presentational annoyances. The DVD, though somewhat low-tech, should be enjoyable by all guitar fanatics, and should build a bigger fan base for Tony. This is certainly a great one to own for Hernando, Terrana, and fanatical guitar fans everywhere!

Line-Up (on Live Material):

Tony Hernando – Guitars
Mike Terrana – Drums
Toni Ferrer – Bass
Chema Herrero – Rhythm Guitar
Boris Dimitrov – Keyboards


  • Scott Jeslis

    Scott is one of the partners at Metal Express Radio. He handles a lot of Metal Express Radio's public relations, screening of new music and radio scheduling. On occasion, he also does reviews and interviews. He has been a proud member of the Metal Express Radio crew since 2004.

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