Shred guitar legend Joe Stump is back with a new album, The Dark Lord Rises, which was released October 23 via Lion Music (Finland).
Below, you can check out a track from the album, the Ritchie Blackmore-influenced "Stratomaster."
"'Stratomaster' is one of my favorite songs on the album," Stump says. "It's got a lot of technical action plus a ton of balls and attitude. It rocks."
Besides Blackmore, one of Stump's greatest influences is the late Gary Moore.
"When it comes to the emotional side of my playing, Gary Moore is someone I definitely try to channel," he says.
"On 'Tortured Soul,' a lot of the phrasing, inflection, note choices, bending and solo vocabulary are heavily inspired by Gary. When it comes to emotionally drenched playing, nobody beats Gary. He combined all of the elements that make rock guitar playing great: technical command, gut-wrenching emotion and a killer tone. He also had this power and intensity in his hands that really knocked me out from the very first time I heard him."
"Out for Blood" is another fan favorite from The Dark Lord Rises. It features some fierce heavy riffage, elements of power metal and some "evil" harmonic minor and diminished sounds—something along the lines of "Hank Shermann and Andy LaRocque meets Yngwie Malmsteen."
The album also features neoclassical-style tracks, including "The Dark Lord's Allegro," "Neo-Classical Shredfest No. 4," "Battle Tested" and "Concerto No. 2 in B Minor," which was inspired by Malmsteen, plus Bach and Vivaldi, two of Stump's favorite classical composers.
Other tracks contain hints of speed, thrash and black metal.
"It's my best work to date and a step up in every aspect—playing-wise, guitar tones, compositions, overall production, everything," Stump adds. "All that fancy technical guitar stuff is great, but if you don't showcase it inside listenable tunes, it gets boring quick. My tunes have killer riffs and very strong melodies. Also my stuff rocks and has balls—none of that over-practiced guitar-exercise shit."