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Review of the Album The Maze by American Neoclassical Rock Guitarist Vinnie Moore

Updated on July 11, 2020
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Ara is a Journalism graduate from California State University Northridge who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

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The Maze is the 1999 studio album released by American neoclassical rock guitarist Vinnie Moore and when I found out that Tony Macalpine was playing the keyboards on this album as well, I knew that I just had to investigate and listen to what this album was all about.

Vinnie Moore Is a Very Underrated Guitar Player

Moore got started in the scene with his solid albums Time Odyssey and Meltdown between 1988 through 1991. He may be one of those guitarists that just might be either forgotten or overlooked by fans because of the attention that other guitar players such as Steve Vai, Joe Satriani or Marty Friedman get. Vinnie Moore should at the very least be listened to and appreciated even in the 2020s.

King of Kings Song Analysis

King of Kings starts with this Black Sabbath sort of feel in the beginning before transitioning to the kind of lead guitar work that Vinnie Moore usually does. Is The Maze trying to signify a musician going around in circles in regards to his musical approach? If Time Odyssey was intended to point out the stages of the life cycle than The Maze might just talk about the maze of life that we walk through. After Marty Friedman, Vinnie Moore is probably the second instrumental guitar player from the United States that I started to listen to sometime around 1997 or 1998 and I haven’t looked back.

A Maze

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Analysis of the Song The Maze

"The Maze” the song is a song that is written in such a way as to feel like an Yngwie Malmsteen song fused with the type of song that Moore would have written back in 1988. Fast forward to 1999 and this song isn’t all that different from one of those songs in that era.

"Never Been to Barcelona"

The Maze Shows How Vinnie Moore Reinvented Himself As a Musician

With this kind of start to this album, I’m sure fans are wondering if Vinnie still had the same creativity in the 1990s that he had in the 1980s. That’s a fair question because when you have instrumental album after instrumental album, there’s a tendency for some of these musicians to write the same kind of structured songs with the same formula, a formulaic approach to songwriting which can sound stale. The answer is that Moore has actually reinvented himself in a way while still holding onto the musical qualities that make him talented.

What Makes The Maze Different from Vinnie Moore's Earlier Albums

With The Maze, the approach is more of a solid blues metal kind of approach and not as much as the neoclassical stuff that we heard on albums such as Mind’s Eye or Time Odyssey.

Songs such as Never Been to Barcelona are influenced by the classical guitarists from Spain such as Andres Segovia. I’ve never been to Barcelona either but for the context of this song, think of it as a mixture of Yngwie Malmsteen and Andres Segovia in one song. “The Thinking Machine” is a song that further sees Moore experimenting and the exotic influence in the song that lets us know that this is once again influenced by Yngwie J. Malmsteen is here. It is evident by now that Malmsteen has left his influence on other musicians since he made his debut many years ago. There is a song on this album called Eye of the Beholder. No this is not a cover performance of that Metallica song but a fully instrumental song written by Vinnie Moore himself

Final Thoughts About The Maze

The Maze although an excellent album especially for fans of Vinnie Moore may not be as strong as Time Odyssey. But even so, it is still a solid instrumental guitar album no matter who wrote songs like we hear on this album. The strongest songs are more than likely King of Kings and Never Been to Barcelona.

© 2020 Ara Vahanian

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