REVIEWS

"Mixed Signals is vintage Carm Grasso with his trademark sound and tasty licks.  From the intro of “How Could You Hurt Me?” to the melodies and harmonies of “Phases,” the album is a great listen.  My favorite are the dueling guitars in “Ray of Light.”  Awesome!"   Todd Sardella, Songwriter, Keyboardist & Vocalist

"Listening to “Mixed Signals” as I write this—NICE! Great sense of melody, arrangement and songwriting. Your playing and note selection leave space for everything to breathe.  GREAT acoustic playing on “Ella Es Mia.”  I also like the great bottom end with monstrous drumming and bass playing.  The album is creative and unpredictable!"

Dennis Adams, Guitarist & Music Enthusiast 

“Carm Grasso’s album “Mixed Signals” was a pleasure to record.  Instrumental guitar rock at its absolute finest!” 

Dan Hawkins, Bassist, Instructor and Owner of OnlineBassPlayer.com and OnlineBassCourses.com

"As far a unique qualities in Carm’s playing, he does stand out to me as far as his textural approach, how he outlines harmonies and his overall touch.  You will hear a personality in his music and a signature sound.  The way he writes, the colors, the grooves—very cool!"  Danny Lee, Producer, Mixing Professional & Owner of Danymal Sound

"I am totally blown away by your latest release, “Mixed Signals.”  I remember enjoying your first album, “Soul Stealer.”  This new one takes things to another level.  The songs, the musicianship and the pro mix are really impressive.  At times, I swear I thought I was listening to Satriani and had to do a double take.  Absolutely excellent!"  John Tasick, Drummer & Music Enthusiast

"Just finished listening to Mixed Signals while working on a project.  I finished in half the time—must have been the incredibly fast licks!  Great compositions with a very pro mix.  When are you taking this on the road and do you need a roadie?"  Mark Occhiogrosso, Songwriter & Keyboardist

Mixed Signals Review:

 

On his second album, Mixed Signals, Carm Grasso once again enlists a massive army of guitars to put the technical brilliance of his playing on display. But, just as vitally, the album as a whole showcases his impressive compositional and songwriting chops, leveraging the intricate arrangements of those many guitars to build a broad array of emotions, and capture the moments that fuel them.

 

While all instrumental, these pieces are clearly songs, the voices of his guitars intertwining to capture moods and tell stories. In fact, the whole album seems to tell a single  story, evident in the progression of themes in the titles of each piece, of a man confronting demons, internal and perhaps external, and rising from the darkness of that struggle to an inner peace. Much like those very real struggles in life, though, it’s not a straight line, darkness giving way to moments of light, those moments lost to regression and anger only to be re-captured through sheer strength of will, gaining in momentum and strength as the album progresses.

 

Phoenix Rising begins with a slow arpeggiation before launching into a pummeling riff, driven by heavy, metallic drums and eventually exploding with melodic guitar lines, multiple leads playing off each other - left, center and right - reminiscent of peak era Iron Maiden. Though Carm could clearly just shred for an entire song, or album, there is not a single gratuitous note, nothing over played, just each guitar doing its carefully composed part.  The beauty of the song - and the whole album, for that matter - is in listening to how each guitar, each channel, each back and forth, contributes its part to the musical narrative.

 

Clarity continues in this vein with a less pummeling riff, but sustaining the sense of menace as a foundation for the melodic interplay of multiple lead guitars shredding, flanging and wah-wahing in taut exchanges. These elements continue through Phases, but increasingly put to different use, the menace fading, the mood of the song brighter and more upbeat, an early indicator that Carm has more tricks up his sleeve than just unloading song after song of melodic hard rock.

 

That promise is realized on Ella Es Mia, where he drops the electric guitars altogether, switching to classical guitars and swapping searing metal for flamenco flourishes and crisp melodic runs on nylon strings.  Thematically, the song builds off the brighter mood of Phases,  exchanging moments of tension and relief, both driving and uplifting at once.

 

Following the growing emotional narrative, Inner Demon is appropriately titled as it shifts strikingly back into  the heavier guitars of the album’s opening, returning to a decidedly darker vibe, unleashing turmoil and anguish with sudden and raw intensity.

 

This shift sets up the dramatic back and forth that fuels the middle of the album. How Could You Hurt Me? returns immediately to the classical guitars introduced just two songs earlier, full of the sweet remorse and sadness the title suggests, all of the anger and menace now missing completely for the first time, replaced  by melancholy and reflection. When the drums kick in halfway through, the mood suddenly picks up, embodying the transformation at the heart of the journey the album so clearly captures. Ray of Light carries this brightening mood through, but harks back to the melodic rock of Phases, the consistency of recurring themes, emotions and sounds deepening as the album progresses.

 

And then with unapologetic abruptness, Mixed Signals explodes and hurls the listener back into the pummeling Maiden-like metal of the album’s opening, all driving drums and screaming guitars, a cathartic unleashing on the unresolved anger driving so much of the album’s tension.

 

And just as strikingly, Into the Blue eclipses the sudden flare of Mixed Signals, continuing the back and forth of moods, picking up where Ray of Light left off, all soaring melodies progressing toward some optimism, where the complexity of all of these emotions can co-exist, where some happiness can still be achieved.

 

Closing song Momento underscores this, suggesting that resolution is more than a possibility, an emerging reality, the classical guitars re-surfacing for a beautiful reflection on the hard-won inner peace the entire album struggled so hard to achieve.

 

In a mere 35 minutes, Mixed Signals unloads a flurry of sounds, songs, emotions and stories, building upon itself relentlessly to propel you along a journey, both brutal and uplifting, composed note by note, moment by moment, in the intricate interplay of some masterful guitar playing.  Matt Seeley, Author, Recording Artist & Music Enthusiast 

Soul Stealer Review:

 

Killer Compositions - Impressive Guitar Masterpiece

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Carm Grasso can shred. There’s no doubt about that, evoking instrumental guitar heroes like Satriani, Malmsteen and Vai with heavy riff rockers and screaming solos. In fact, the first solo erupts less than a minute into the album, unleashing an impressive display of six-string histrionics right out of the gate. Throughout the album, though, Carm reveals a myriad of facets to his guitar playing, showcasing a knack for crafting melodies and hooks in a huge range of musical settings, finding the beauty in quiet and introspective moments - like in the flamenco stylings of the spaghetti westerner Caballero - as adeptly as he hits overdrive on the rockers. Carm’s ability to shift gears makes for a dynamic listen from beginning to end, without a wasted moment, every note, every tone, setting up the next masterfully. And that’s where Carm succeeds the most - as impressive of a guitar player as he is, it’s his songwriting that elevates the album beyond a collection of riffs and solos, and reveals Carm to be every bit the composer that he is the shredder. Fans of metal, prog or creative guitar composition will find plenty to dig into on Soul Stealer - highly recommended.  Matt Seeley, Author, Recording Artist & Music Enthusiast

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