MonteMadonna’s guitarist. Erstwhile member of Prong. Solo musician.  Monte Pittman presents his latest album The Power of Three.

If you are expecting Madonna style diva pop (and why the hell would you this is Ave Noctum after all) you will be sorely disappointed. What you get instead is polished 90’s style metal. Think Bush era style Anthrax and pre Risk /post Rust in Peace MegaDave.

Opener “A Dark Horse” opens with an acoustic flourish before mutating into a track that could easily be an offcut from “We’ve Come For You All”. I love Bushthrax so hopes are high.

Monte’s vocals are not as strong as the Armored Saint but his chops are evident.  Riffs swirl around lead breaks and the chunk that you would expect from 90’s metal is there in spades.

Delusions of Grandeur continues with more of the same  – so much so it could almost be part two of the opener. With a minute and a half to go we get the full Monte (!!!) arpeggio and fret wanking. It doesn’t float my boat but Dragonforce sell a lot of albums so people obviously like it.

Track three is a ballad of sorts – a bit like when Testament tried to cash in on “Nothing Else Matters “ with their ballad.  It all goes a little Bush (the band this time not the singer) but Monte has not got the voice of Gavin Rossdale either so it falls short.

By this point in the album I am accepting this listening experience is not going to end in a Eureka moment where I discover something new and innovative.  Monte Pittman is a competent guitarist who obviously has a love of rock music . However he has chosen to play it pretty safe and written an album of songs that would fit any generic action film of the late 90’s . The album is inoffensive and lacks challenge as much as it is polished and well executed.

Blood Hungry Thirst provides more of the same with some proto Kiss cries of “Come together” before a thrashy ending which hints at something a little more interesting. Just as my interest piques the song ends and “On My Mind” is blasting out. This track jumps to a different 90’s icon like a flea to a different dog. Stone Temple Pilots this time. This continues through to “Away From Here”

“Before the Mourning Son” see’s us back in 90’s thrash territory and there is a little bit of spot the riff here.   It is hard to discuss any of Mister Pittman’s songs without mentioning other artists as there is very little original evident  in “The Power of Three”.

Each song begins and I felt like I have heard it before – in part that is enjoyable. A little like settling into an old fave battered tour shirt. In fact “End of the World” has me singing along after the second run through of the chorus and I feel like I must have seen this be performed at Reading in 1994 or summat. “Reaching to the end of the worllllldddd!” Pass us a pint of snakebite me old mucka.

Alas this is not so. Monte Pittman has produced a generic album of standards. Jeremy Clarkson would probably think it is racy (who gives a fuck what he thinks actually) and Nickelback fans may like its pomp and splendour. Anyone else would do better to dig out their forgotten albums form the 90’s and give em another whirl.

(4/10 Matt Mason)