Album review: Ronnie Montrose, The Speed of Sound (1988)


By Steve Newton

On his last album, Mean, guitar hero Ronnie Montrose rekindled the straightforward metal noise that sounded so fine on his early ’70s albums with Sammy Hagar. On his new one, he’s back on the instrumental rock path a la his 1978 release, Open Fire.

With the back-up of bassist Glenn Lesch and former Rockets drummer Johnny “Bee” Badanjek, Montrose handles electric, acoustic, and MIDI guitar to create tasty, Jeff Beck-style flash and to give tunes like “Mach 1”, “Hyper-Thrust”, and “Windshear” the sort of high-speed effect their titles suggest.

As on Open Fire, where he gave a nice interpretive touch to “Town Without Pity”, his new album features a unique version of the Tornados’ “Telstar”.

Word has it that lately Montrose has been playing with guitar maestro Allan Holdsworth, and that they might even tour together. Now that would be something to see.

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