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Former Cacophony/Megadeth guitarist Marty Friedman returns with his first solo album of original material in four years, “Inferno,” after releasing a series of Japan-only cover albums in which he deconstructed and amped-up J-pop tunes.

And, boy, does he deliver. The album features some of the heaviest, most progressive music of his career. The mostly instrumental tracks on “Inferno” all have a ferocity to them, as if Friedman is constantly feeling the need to prove himself. In fact, “true metal” fans who decry his foray into the J-pop and idol scene in recent years will certainly shut up after hearing the opening seconds of the pulverizing title-track.

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