Impellitteri

REVIEW: Impellitteri – Stand In Line (1988)

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IMPELLITTERI – Stand In Line (1988 Relativity)

There was a time when I’d buy any “supergroup” with members that I knew.  Impellitteri had three:  Graham Bonnet (Rainbow – vocals), Chuck Wright (Quiet Riot – bass) and Pat Torpey (Mr. Big – drums).  This release on Relativity records is basically a showcase for guitarist Chris Impellitteri, and unfortunately that’s exactly what it sounds like.  In the credits, Chris states “I promise that my guitar solos will only get faster”.  That should tell you everything you need to know about Stand in Line.

Sounding indistinguishable from an Yngwie album, the title track goes first.  It boasts some pretty mean Graham Bonnet vocals, but the song sounds exactly like Malmsteen to a “tee”.  And it’s one of the best songs.  The star is actually Pat Torpey (rest in peace, rock soldier) who rarely got to drum so heavy.

A couple misguided covers don’t do this album any favours.  The new version of “Since You Been Gone” metalizes the Rainbow original, and it can’t stand up under the weight.  (Interesting note:  this track features Randy Rand from Autograph on bass.)  It’s too stiff, too schooled, too…supergroup-y.  Same with “Over the Rainbow”, which has some beautiful runs, but is otherwise overplayed.  Squealing solos don’t compensate for Ritchie Blackmore, or a tight band.

Highlights:  “Stand In Line”, “Tonight I Fly”.
Turds:  “White and Perfect”, a song about colonialism!

Credit where it’s due:  Chuck Wright plays some unison lines in sync with Chris Impellitteri, showing off abilities that he doesn’t often exploit.  Likewise with Pat Torpey.  Unfortunately Stand in Line is too generic (if you can call “Yngwie” an actual genre), and there’s already one neo-classical shredder on the top of the pile.  Impellitteri spices his playing up with some Van Halen-esque tricks, but all I can hear is Yngwie, and you will too, right down to the production.  Most of the pleasure derived from this album is courtesy of Graham Bonnet, but chances are you already own this if you’re a Bonnet obsessive-compulsive!

2/5 stars

Side note:  This CD was salvaged by me, as it had been close to ruined by a house fire!  Somebody sold me his stinky CD collection, many of which were scorched.  The smell (burned paper and plastic) was unholy. This was one of the lesser-destroyed albums, but you can still see some browning on the top edge of the inside cover, where the smoke and heat got to it. With a lot of effort and gentle cleaning products, I eliminated of the smell and most of the stains.