If Michael Angelo Batio is not a household name for you, don't feel bad. He wasn't for me either. Batio is an American guitar master on the shred side of things. His fret feats are legend among his peers. Having a degree in music theory and composition, Batio was listed as one of the "Top 100 Greatest Metal Guitarists of All Time" by Guitar World Magazine, for which he writes the column Time to Burn, and one of the "20 Greatest Shredders of All Time" by Total Guitar Magazine, both in April 2008.
Batio is ambidextrous able to play two guitars at the same time either in synchronization or using separate harmonies. He's often credited with developing the "Over-Under" technique, which involves flipping his fretting hand over and under the neck. I remember him from his past affiliation with the 80's band Nitro and playing his famous 'quad guitar' in the infamous Freight Train music video. Modern students may know him from teaching Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave) and Mark Tremonti (Creed).
Hands Without Shadows 2 Voices, like the previous disc, refers to the speed of fret work so fast as to leave no visible shadow from the hand movement. Also, like the former episode, Batio applies his incredible 'shredding' skills to covers songs done by current (Clapton, Van Halen, Metallica, Megadeth and deceased (Dimebag, Hendrix, Rhoads) guitar masters with help of some well known friends (Vinnie Moore, George Bellas, David Shankle, and Tremonti) and a host from his MAB forum on MAB Forum Shreddathon. The differences on volume 2 are the addition of vocals and lack of original songs from Batio.
Essentially, however, on HWS2V is Batio applying shred work upon unlikely candidates. While aspiring guitar players and couch aficionados as myself will appreciate Batio's intriguing interpretations of like peers such as Van Halen, Rhoads, and possibly Dimebag, some applications may cause a wee bit of musical dissonance. Though following traditional treatments most times, when Batio applies his wiggly fret work to the non-neoclassical style of Clapton and Hendrix it sounds out of place, even weird, at times. Also, while interesting, the Metallica and less the Megadeth pieces, sound strangely neutered of their thrash edge by Batio's interpretation. Yet, even with these small misgivings, HWS2V is compelling and entertaining, a delight for any fledgling guitar hero or simply a fan of them.
Even with some odd interpretations of guitar legends, Hands Without Shadows 2 Voices is compelling and entertaining, a delight for any fledgling guitar hero or simply a fan of them.