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John Macaluso & Union Radio
The Radio Waves Goodbye
Lion Records
Modern Metal / Progressive
David Felix
4.5 stars

I really thought I was going to have a hard time with this one. I first heard of John Macaluso way back in 1991 when I heard he sat in for drummer Tommi Gallo during some of the “OPEN TO THE PUBLICSPREAD EAGLE sessions. Since that time, his name’s just popped up over and over again… Yngwie Malmsteen, ARK, TNT, STARBREAKER, etc. So, over the years I’ve gotten pretty familiar with John and his vast array of drumming styles and techniques.

Then just this past summer, I had the opportunity to meet and spend some time with John during the SPREAD EAGLE reunion tour. Not only did he become a great personal friend, but a HUGE supporter of & as well. This is where the problem came in…

He started telling me about his new solo release coming out in the spring with the project name John Macaluso & UNION RADIO and CD titled “THE RADIO WAVES GOODBYE.” At first I was very excited… then he started telling me all the musicians he had assembled for the project and it just seemed a majority of them had very strong roots in “progressive” metal… something I was never too into. To make things worse, he had promised me one of the first copies and wanted me to review it! This kinda scared me a little bit because being he is a friend, how could I “slam” his CD if it really turned out to be what I thought it was going to be?

Well… John is definitely a man of his word. Not only did he get me a copy of the CD, but I had it before his record label even did! But the most important thing about it is, while it does contain a lot of progressive elements, “THE RADIO WAVES GOODBYE” is not what I had feared and basically speaks for itself. What a relief! And now my honest, un-bias review…

Creative, innovative and palpitating are three words that immediately come to mind when I think about “THE RADIO WAVES GOODBYE! It comfortably blends a unique mixture or musical styles ranging from progressive metal to classic metal and pushes the envelope even further with influences and arrangements stemming from classical concerto to 1940’s “big band” or swing.

The CD opens with the powerful “Soul In Your Mind.” With it’s haunting chorus, progressive undertones, a flawless vocal by James LaBrie and some absolutely insane drum work… compliments of Johnny Mac himself, “Soul In Your Mind” really impresses. But it doesn’t stop there! Other tracks like “Mother Illusion”, “Things We Should Not Know,” “Gates to Bridges” and “Dissolved” continue on in the same vein. While the vocals aren’t always as consistent as those of LaBrie, the music and arrangements along with the heavy percussion emphasis really carries the CD… but what else would you expect from a drummer’s solo release?

As you listen further into the disc, you’ll begin to realize that although the songs individually stand alone and the arrangements and production are works in and of themselves, “THE RADIO WAVES GOODBYE” is a drummer’s paradise… bottom line. On track after track after track, Macaluso puts on what can only be described as a clinic! It’s no wonder he’s considered one of the best in the world! He even had the balls to put a drum solo titled “Pretzel” on the release! No… not an instrumental… a FUCKING DRUM SOLO done superbly in its own tongue-in-cheek way. I never thought I’d actually enjoy riding around in my car listening to a drum solo but Macaluso has definitely proven me wrong.

Other tracks

of note include the less aggressive “Shimmering Grey” which stands out for its smoother, flowing melody which explodes into a powerful chorus and also features some very nice guitar and piano sections. “Yesterday I’ll Understand” is another slower arrangement with a classic rock/ metal vibe while “Things We Should Not Know” maintains a solid progressive, yet… almost gothic feel to it. And what review could be complete without mentioning “6 Foot Under Happy Man?” This is… without a doubt, THE most surprising track on the release because (without giving “too” much away) it doesn’t even feature a drum track AT ALL! But it DOES, however, feature Johnny Mac taking over on microphone duty. Take a listen and judge for yourself! I think if you really listen to the lyrics, you’ll have a good time with it… in your own, dark way. 8)

Lastly I just have to mention the two instrumental tracks “Away With Words” and “T-34.” “T-34” is simply tremendous! Listening to it, you can almost visualize some kind of epic battle sequence spinning around in your head that would rival anything the “LORD OF THE RINGS” trilogy had to offer. And “Away With Words” wraps the whole thing up in an entrancing… almost hypnotic fashion.

THE RADIO WAVES GOODBYE” is just an amazing release by an amazing artist and with a supporting cast like the one John assembled here, how could you go wrong? Whether you’re a drummer or not, you need this one in your collection! Make sure to circle MAY 25th on your calendar… I already have!

Band Lineup:
  • John Macaluso - Drums / Vocals (ARK, Yngwie Malmsteen, TNT, Powermad, Riot, KRS-One, George Lynch, Starbreaker, Delmar Brown, Masterlast, Alex Masi, Spread Eagle)
  • Vocals - James LaBrie (Dream Theater), Mike Dimeo (Riot,Masterplan), Adrian Holtz (ARK), Don Chaffin (Vox) & believe it or not, John Macaluso
  • Guitar - Marco Sfogli (James LaBrie), Alex Rastochin (Average White Band), Chris Caffrey (Savatage, Trans-Siberian Orchestra), Alex Masi, Jack Frost (Seven Witches), Robert Katrickh, Di muti. Larry Meyer, Nick Chinboukas (Collision)
  • Bass - Randy Coven (Yngwie Malmsteen), Ze Gray (Delmar Brown), Di muti, Fabrizio Grossi (Steve Vai), Larry Meyer, Gustavo J. Vitureira (Collision)
  • Keyboard and Piano - Vitalij Kuprij (Artension, Ring Of Fire), Di muti, Derrik Weiland (Trans-Siberian Orchestra)
  • Strings - Dave Eggar (Evanessence)
  • Backing Vocals - Deana Cook, John Macaluso, Don Chaffin, Sue-Z, Donna Macaluso, Laura Macaluso & Kristen Drewes


Track Listing:
  1. Soul In Your Mind
  2. Mother Illusion
  3. Prayer Pill
  4. Dissolved
  5. Gates To Bridges
  6. Shimmering Grey
  7. T-34
  8. Starring Pain
  9. Pretzel
  10. Yesterday I’ll Understand
  11. 6 Foot Under Happy Man
  12. Things We Should Not Know
  13. Away With Words


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