Cacophony: Speed Metal Symphony-80’s-1987.

Cacophony was an American heavy metal band formed in 1986 by guitarists Marty Friedman and Jason Becker,[1] and signed to Shrapnel Records.[2] They released two studio albums and remained active until 1989, after which both guitarists forged their own solo careers and joined other bands.

The two albums released by Cacophony, Speed Metal Symphony (1987) and Go Off! (1988),[1] were showpieces of the kind of highly technical playing typical of the 1980s shred era, with songs featuring fast temposmelodic solos, exotic neoclassical scales and dual guitar harmonizations. Several of the tracks were entirely instrumental,[1] which prominently demonstrated Friedman and Becker’s renowned technical skills.[3] In a 2009 article by Guitar World magazine, Speed Metal Symphony was ranked ninth in a list of all-time top ten shred albums.[4]

Both Friedman and Becker released their own solo albums—Dragon’s Kiss and Perpetual Burn, respectively—in 1988, before the release of Go Off! Friedman later joined the thrash metal band Megadeth in 1990,[1] remaining with them for nine years as well as releasing several more solo albums, while Becker enjoyed a short stint in David Lee Roth‘s solo band from 1989 to 1991.[1] Becker’s time with Roth was abruptly cut short due to an onset of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a degenerative disease that rendered him completely unable to play and, soon afterwards, move or speak.


Speed Metal SymphonyFull-length1987
Go Off!Full-length1988
Modal Magic / Go OffSplit1989 
Marty Friedman
Bass (1986-1987), Guitars (lead) (1986-1989)
See also: Marty FriedmanMetal Clone XTakamiy (live), ex-Hawaii, ex-Aloha, ex-Megadeth, ex-Deuce, ex-Vixen, ex-Aikawa Nanase, ex-FANTA, ex-Jet Red, ex-Lovefixer, ex-Red Dye #2, ex-Rock Fujiyama Band, ex-Rocket to Russia, ex-Ami Suzuki (live), ex-Shining (live)
Jason Becker
Guitars (lead) (1986-1989)
See also: Jason Becker, ex-David Lee Roth
Jimmy O’Shea
Bass (1988-1989)
See also: ex-Le Mans, Pop Fiction, ex-Marty Friedman, ex-Eyes, ex-Howling Iguanas, ex-Nothin’ Personal
Kenny Stavropoulos
Drums (1988-1989)
See also: Life Love Misery, ex-Le Mans, ex-Big Bad Wolf, ex-Kamikaze, ex-Starship (live)

Past Members:

Atma AnurDrums (1986-1988)
See also: The Esseness Project, ex-Scavenger, Ramos / Anur Project, ex-Jason Becker, ex-Vicious Rumors, ex-Bernd Steidl, ex-Doppler, Inc., ex-Greg Howe, ex-Hardline, ex-La Famiglia Superstar, ex-Ramos, ex-Richie Kotzen, ex-Trick Whitey
Peter MarrinoVocals (1986-1989)
See also: ex-Le Mans, ex-Childhood’s End, ex-9.0, ex-Gilles-Marrino Assault, ex-Unauthorized Ozzy
Deen CastronovoDrums (1988)
See also: ex-Hawaii, Gioeli/Castronovo, Journey, Restless Spirits, Revolution Saints, ex-Dr. Mastermind, ex-Joey Tafolla, ex-Marty Friedman, ex-Of Gods & Monsters, ex-Ozzy Osbourne, ex-Geezer, ex-Malice, ex-Wild Dogs, ex-James Murphy, ex-Bad English, ex-Hardline, ex-Matthew Ward, ex-Planet Us, ex-Social Distortion, ex-Soul SirkUS, ex-Steve Vai, ex-The Dead Daisies, ex-The Enemy, ex-Foreigner (live), ex-Night Ranger (live), ex-Paul Rodgers (live)
Side A
1.Savage05:50  Show lyrics
2.Where My Fortune Lies04:33  Show lyrics
3.The Ninja07:25  Show lyrics
4.Concerto04:37  instrumental
Side B
5.Burn the Ground06:51  Show lyrics
6.Desert Island06:25  Show lyrics
7.Speed Metal Symphony09:37  instrumental

One thought on “Cacophony: Speed Metal Symphony-80’s-1987.

  1. FuryoftheBlade, February 26th, 2006

    Bear in mind that the rating of this is slanted by the fact that it is reviewed by a guitarist and this is an album made to display the prime of technical double lead, and that the reviewer will be mostly talking about guitars the whole time.

    Before hearing this album, I was aware of Marty Friedman’s stint in Megadeth, and the Jason Becker’s prodigal 5th Caprice rendition, and hearing this album blew everything else away. This is what Nitro would have been like if Michaelangelo could write songs and not spend all day being ambidextrious and upside. Jason Becker was only like 16 or 17 on this album. Amazing.

    The drums and bass in the album are your standard 80s metal rhythm section: Bass following the guitars with random fills, and drums playing a somewhat straight beat with certain sections and fills where seen fit. Not the main focus, but they don’t throw anything off at all.

    The vocals are lower range. Think a lower range version of Yngwie’s first singer (I think it was Jeff Scott Soto, or something). Once again, not the main focus, but not horrible to the point of ruining the album or the main focus.

    GUITARS = ABSOLUTE FUCKING MADNESS on this album. Friedman and Becker take full on advantage of their abilities and the characteristics of double lead guitar playing. We’re talking the vast majority of leads, solos, and fills being harmonized is some sort of way, be it diatonic thirds, stacked fourths, diminished, and so on. And not just harmonized scales, but harmonized arpeggios, harmonized tapping, even the rhythm parts complement each other sometimes. And even the simple power chord sections are being played, they’re still pretty catching and they leave you in anticipation for what’s next.

    Although every song on this album is virtually flawless, the first four happen to my favorites as compared to the others. My personal favorite is “The Ninja,” with the clean opening. Also, be aware that a lot of this stuff is neo-classical inspired or it features the use of unorthodox eastern scales thanks to the mighty combination of Marty Friedman’s and Jason Becker’s gigantic musical toolboxes.

    Recommended to all metal guitarists.


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