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CD REVIEW: Sal Piamonte - Lives in the Devil City
By Cyrus Rhodes - 04/12/2012 - 03:27 PM EDT

Artist: Sal Piamonte
Album: Lives in the Devil City
Label: Independent Artist
Genre: Alternative Rock and Progressive Metal
Sounds Like: Live, Alice Cooper, Weezer, John Mayer
Technical Grade: 7/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 8/10
Commercial Value: 9/10
Overall Talent Level: 7/10
Songwriting Skills: 8/10
Performance Skill: 7/10
Best Songs: Devil Woman, Take Me Home, Go All Night
Weakness: A few winded songs. Repetive Sound, Bright Mix
CD Review: Ottawa based singer/songwriter Sal Piamonte just released his latest CD entitled Lives in the Devil City in 2012.  Reading from his bio ”He’s rocking Heaven and Earth with a dangerously catchy twist on the timeless battle of good and evil.” So far so good.

The CD starts things off with “Big Sleazy Intro” a short prelude of sorts that leads you head first intro Track 2 ”Take Me Home” a dynamic guitar driven intro-groove that serves up steady rock rhythm against catchy vocal melodies, sizzling solos and hooky chorus from Piamonte. Track 3 is hands down my personal favorite “Devil Woman” keeps things moving with its driving rock rhythm, thought provoking lyrical content against a grand slam chorus. This track evolves into a solid rock groove with clever lyrical content and impressive vocal passion - all in all an amazing piece. Track 4 “Get Up, Get Up” is a hypnotic ditty with rock steady groove painted against impressive musical ambience, well placed harmonies against a heartfelt vocal delivery. As the CD slowly unfolds I can hear many musical influences reminiscent of classic Live, John Mayer, Todd Rundgren and perhaps a splash of Alice Cooper and even Weezer. Despite my pigeonholing I will add Piamonte is one artists that has a unique sound. This CD makes a pretty solid first impression. Right from the start you will notice rich musical textures and ambience overflowing everywhere, full of warmth, variety and strong melodic structure. I would classify this music as catchy hard rock, with a slight aftertaste of alternative and pop. Make no bones about it – this guy is a rocker but the songs themselves are addictive, cathy with subject matter that can push hard. The musicianship is pretty solid across the board. Piamonte showcases good production instincts and knows how to bring the passion. Along the way you will notice lush layers of instrumentation layered everywhere. Besides the 4 piece standard you will also catch impressive things well placed solo guitar, ambient touches and miscellaneous sampling, flute, piano, thick as a brick rhythm section and well placed vocal harmonies layered everywhere. Piamonte’s voice works well across the board as he fills the sonic space reckless abandon. I might add Piamonte brings allot of vocal passion to the table with powerful messages and no holds barred lyrical content. All songs are compelling, thought provoking musical experiences. From heartfelt “Just a Bit” to psychedelic “Tonight” to rocking “Shining Star” to catchy “Nasty Girl” to rocking “Watcha Say” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Tack 11 “Go All night” and Track 12 “Big Sleazy Outro” the perfect bookend finale statements for a CD of this caliber.

It’s fair to say Piamonte’s sound is a bit repetitive overall. Track for track, song for song it’s hard to tell one song from the next. It's also fair to say this is a very bright "in your face" mix. These types of mixes are really designed to maximize radio marketability - I get that. But at the end of these type of productions can be a real wear on the ears. All songs over 3.5 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line. 

Lives in the Devil City bySal Piamonte is an impressive musical production from start to finish. The music is consistent; the messages will push you, make you think and are and sung from a deeply honest perspective. It’s strong suit – the wide musical variety and overall vocal passion from Piamonte. He clearly possesses enough musical talent and songwriting prowess to be extremely dangerous. The musicianship is first rate. Once again the vocals, vocal harmonies and melodic accents are brilliantly placed and extremely well crafted. Bottom Line - Sal Piamonte has carved out a unique yet marketable niche for himself withn this unique fusion of Hard Rock and Melodic Rock. 

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