Steve Stevens is best known as the raven-haired foil to platinum-blond pop-punk icon Billy Idol; he’s the leather-clad Les Paul–lover whose incendiary solos lit up Idol hits like “Rebel Yell” and “White Wedding”. But Stevens also moonlights as an instrumental rock-guitar virtuoso, and on Memory Crash he proves to be a startling picker in the same league as Joe Satriani. After the majestic intro of “Heavy Horizon”, Stevens puts the pedal to the metal on the rambunctious fretburner “Hellcats Take the Highway” (he’s got a thing for cool song titles). Both “Small Arms Fire” and “Cherry Vanilla” are seven-and-a-half–minute molten excursions that boast hooky riffs aplenty and ace drumming by Brian Tichy, who has played with the likes of Idol, Ozzy Osbourne, and the great Glenn Hughes.
Stevens shows off his dextrous flamenco-guitar talents at the beginning of the funky “Prime Mover”, and gets all Robin Trower on your ass with a version of “Day of the Eagle” that sees Doug Pinnick from King’s X on bass and vocals. Unfortunately, after nine killer tracks, the CD ends on a weak note when Stevens tackles the lead vocal on the subpar “Josephine”. There’s a reason Billy Idol doesn’t let him sing much.
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