• 9.5/10
    DEVIL'S SLINGSHOT - Clinophobia - 9.5/10


Mascot Records
Release date: August 19, 2008

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

There is one of two things that go through one’s mind when he/she hears the words super-trio or super-group. These being, “oh no here we go again” or, “cool I can’t wait to hear what they’ve done”. There are many times when the band is either a one album wonder or the band just dismantles and breaks up after an album or two because members are either still in other bands at the same time or egos get in the way and ruin everything.

What if the names Tony MacAlpine (guitar), Billy Sheehan (bass), and Virgil Donati (drums) are thrown at you? If talent and ego had a proportional ratio of sorts then not only would the three of these musicians not be allowed to stand on the same stage together, they shouldn’t be allowed in the same state at the same time. That is how scary the potential of this band might be. They decided to get together, jam, play, and yes hit the road together (as in touring). Just imagine how many millions of watts went through their speaker cabinets on a solo or individual group basis during their careers before they all got together and became Devil’s Slingshot. It’s simply mind blowing.

It was really Tony’s idea that the three of them get together especially since Billy and Virgil are close friends of his. That’s the quick and dirty on how Devil’s Slingshot came to be. On top of that, Tony knows what type of musicians he’s getting, in that he knows how good they are already and he knows their style of play and what they can do. Both Billy and Virgil also know the same about Tony and what his likings are. The three of them love music but more importantly love to play music-no matter where they perform. Their logic was the smaller the venue the better. That is when they really let go and lay it all out on the line. They have been known to play for hours on end when it comes to the more intimate settings between themselves and their audience.

Unless you’ve been in a cave for two or three decades, then you should recognize the musicians in Devil’s Slingshot and realize how rare something like this is. Listening to Clinophobia the first time through, it was clear as to how precise and polished the three men were together with their playing. Yet at the same time, the whole thing sounded as if it were improvised. The album is categorized as Progressive Rock Instrumental. After listening to it there is a strong case for changing that to something between Progressive Metal and Jazz Fusion, perhaps Progressive Metal Fusion. Don’t let the Jazz or Fusion discourage you in any way. Clinophobia has some kick ass stuff on it even though that was not the aim of this album. A strong point to note was the fact that each musician just went along doing his thing not trying to drown out the other two members of the band while showcasing his talents.

Clinophobia is a 9-track, 40 minute masterpiece. The opener “Nederland” hits you right in the gut with its cavalier and effortless changes throughout, low-end growling bass and heavy riffs in a 6/8 time accompaniment. “Ballade de Bastille” is a phenomenal song in the sense that the three artists seem to take their time more so than on any other track. There aren’t any Trash Metal riffs or solos coming from Tony, Virgil’s drumming is noticeable throughout but in a more controlled and less relentless fashion, and Billy isn’t ripping up and down the fretboard the way we’re used to him attacking his bass. “Def Bitch Blues” really isn’t as bluesy as the title suggests. For some reason, Jeff Beck comes to mind while listening to this tune. “Lay Off” has some heavy stuff and light stuff as well. It has Tony playing some of his best guitar. “Injustice Line” is a strange and eerie song done in 10/8 time (here’s one TOOL would love). “Ocean” is another song that showcases Tony’s beautiful guitar playing. He really shines on this one. You hear Billy go off on one of his excursions albeit short. “Flamed” has probably the strangest drum sound in the opening to the song. Virgil goes to many different places on this one. A strange song from beginning to end that picks up as it moves along. Neither Billy nor Tony miss a beat making this one a keeper amongst the bunch. As an added surprise, Bunny Brunel takes over bass duties on “Hourglass” and at 2:22 you can really begin to hear what a special musician he is. The closer is “Aerial Perspective” and once again has flawless guitar being the highlight of the track.

So what is the final verdict? Here’s a clue! Break out the champagne and party favors. Clinophobia is a must have for fans and lovers of good music made by talented musicians who especially love what they do for a living. It is rare to find a bunch of guys so freakingly talented who just want to get together and play music for all the right reasons. Their heads aren’t so swollen or ready to explode from all the praise and adulation they get on a daily basis from others they come in contact with. Instead, they do what is most important to them and that is to practice, play, get better at their art, produce, create, and compose. Music is their life and they don’t have time for all that other crap. They know how good they are-after all, they are the ones who live and breathe music continuously. That is the bottom line. Tony, Billy, and Virgil just wanted to get together to create and play some incredible music for those who appreciate it. Well this reviewer certainly does as you will, once you hear Clinophobia.


  • George Fustos

    George was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He has engineering degrees in Chemical and Electrical Engineering. He favors Metal, Rock, Hard Rock, Classic Rock, Blues, and even some Jazz and Motown (depending on the tune). He used to dabble with the bass quite some time ago. His most influential bassists are Jaco, Billy Sheehan, Stu Hamm, Geddy Lee, and John Entwistle (RIP Ox). Band-wise he's really into Rush, Tool, early Metallica, Pink Floyd (including Waters and Gilmour as solo artists), The Who, Iced Earth, Iron Maiden, Halford, Joe Satriani, certain Judas Priest, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Albert Collins (Blues guitarist), Motörhead, and a German band called Skew Siskin that Lemmy says in an interview as being "the best band out there today."

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