Second Heatby Racer X
Racer X's debut album, Street Lethal, established the band as little more than a vehicle for guitarist Paul Gilbert's virtuosic neo-metal soloing style. For its sophomore release, Second Heat, Racer X ups the intensity of its already terrifying instrumental attack by adding second guitarist Bruce Bouillet to the fold, thereby/a>/i>/i>… See more details below
Racer X's debut album, Street Lethal, established the band as little more than a vehicle for guitarist Paul Gilbert's virtuosic neo-metal soloing style. For its sophomore release, Second Heat, Racer X ups the intensity of its already terrifying instrumental attack by adding second guitarist Bruce Bouillet to the fold, thereby enabling some of the most amazing dual-guitar work ever recorded. What's more, the band has become more cohesive and have even penned some catchy songs with worthwhile melodies. Second Heat's overall style follows the well-established Judas Priest/Van Halen template (they even cover a Priest tune, "Heart of a Lion"), but each song is punctuated with detailed pyrotechnical touches from the guitarists, and the rest of the band, for that matter. While Bouillet's skill nearly matches that of Gilbert, the rhythm section of John Alderete and Scott Travis (bass and drums, respectively) proves to be one of the most formidable around. Check out the instrumental "Scarified" for a true demolition set piece. What ultimately makes Second Heat superior to its predecessor is its better-developed sense of songwriting; tracks like "Hammer Away" and "Living the Hard Way" are as good as anything else in the pop-metal arena that was popular in the late '80s. One word of warning, however: Beware of the bombastic cover of David Bowie's "Moonage Daydream" which strips away all the charm and subtlety of the original and makes the song a backdrop for (you guessed it!) more shredding. While some may find this sort of thing harmless, others may find it sacrilegious.
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Performance CreditsRacer X Primary Artist
Paul Gilbert Guitar
John Alderete Bass
Bruce Bouillet Guitar
Scott Travis Drums
Jeff Martin Vocals
Technical CreditsFontano Producer,Engineer
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The second release for Racer X (and the only studio album with both Paul Gilbert and Bruce Bouillet), it is a notable improvement in song writing from Street Lethal.
At a time when similar, less worthy bands were getting signed to major label deals, Racer X never got that big break. Maybe it was because their music was a little less accessible, and mostly appealed to other heavy metal musicians. Bands like Trivium and Dragonforce owe a large debt to this group's absurdly fast twin lead guitars. Tracks like "Scarified" practically invented a sub-genre - music that sent other players back to their garage's to practice.
This album is at it's best when it doesn't stray far from it's strengths - uptempo hard rock. Digressions like the cover of Bowie's "Moonage Daydream" just don't work, nor does the half-hearted ballad "Sunlit Nights". The opening track "Sacrifice" is remarkable for the dissonance that it successfully keeps musical in its opening bars. The cover of (then) unreleased Judas Priest song "Heart of a Lion" hints at the kind of music this band could have broken into the mainstream with had it's luck gone better.