McStine & Minnemann

by Kevin Wierzbicki

While both of these artists are well established in their own right, this is the first collaborative release from Randy McStine and Marco Minnemann. Guitarist, bassist and singer McStine has previously collaborated with the likes of Joe Satriani, King Crimson and Tears for Fears while Minnemann has drummed with everyone from the Buddy Rich Big Band to Necrophagist to U.K. The pair are in the mood to rock out on "Tear the Walls Down (No Memories)," a cut that, with stinging lead and aggressive rhythm guitar from McStine and a brief but showy drum break from Minnemann, is clearly (like most of the record) crafted to grab the attention of Active Rock Radio programmers and fans. "Program," brings bands like Primus to mind while "Falling from Grace" recalls Yes and "Your Offenses," partly because of the way Minnemann goes nuts on the drums, has heavy echoes of Rush. "The Closer" is the effort's quiet moment; less than three minutes long and swathed in harmony vocals that accentuate the song's sense of yearning, the cut shows a side of the duo that's not otherwise on display here. A bit of orchestration accompanies the heavy guitar groove of the prog-rocking "Voyager" while also leaving some of the spotlight for concise and meticulous solos from McStine. This very solid effort is likely to broaden McStine and Minnemann's fan base significantly.

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