Tony MacAlpine – Maximum Security (1987)

Tony MacAlpine (born August 29, 1960) is an American musician and composer. In a career spanning three decades and twelve studio albums, he is best known as an instrumental rock solo guitarist, although he has worked with many different bands and musicians in guest appearances and collaborations.
Maximum Security is the second studio album by guitarist Tony MacAlpine, released in 1987 through PolyGram. The album is MacAlpine’s only release to enter the U.S. Billboard 200, reaching No. 146 and remaining on that chart for eleven weeks.

Guitarist/keyboardist Tony MacAlpine really hits his stride on Maximum Security. While it’s not all that different from his first album, Edge of Insanity, it’s just much better. The album’s captivating neoclassical/fusion forays are filled with plenty of beautiful melodies and hair-raising solos; MacAlpine simply lights up the fretboard — and the keyboard, for that matter. Opening with a stormy harpsichord motif, the album’s leadoff track, “Autumn Lords,” sounds promising from the start. The piece soars with dramatic classical precision and features some truly breathtaking guitar/keyboard interplay. The album rarely falters from there; the flash guitar workout of “Hundreds of Thousands,” which moves at warp speed, gives way to the gorgeous “Tears of Sahara,” featuring guest solos by George Lynch. MacAlpine‘s penchant for dramatic soundscapes gives his pieces a rich, cinematic feel. The variety of textures on this album — not to mention a wealth of beautiful melodies — keep it continually interesting. Other highlights include “Porcelain Doll” — its lilting melody borrowed from Chopin — and MacAlpine‘s verbatim recital of Chopin’s “Etude #4, Opus #10.” Maximum Security is essential listening for anyone interested in instrumental guitar music.


1.  “Autumn Lords” – 3:26
2.  “Hundreds of Thousands” – 3:15
3.  “Tears of Sahara” – 3:46
4.  “Key to the City” – 4:38
5.  “The Time and the Test” – 2:39
6.  “The King’s Cup” – 3:27
7.  “Sacred Wonder” – 4:13
8.  “Etude #4 Opus #10”  (Frédéric Chopin) – 2:05
9.  “The Vision” – 3:30
10.  “Dreamstate” – 3:28
11.  “Porcelain Doll” – 4:26

All music composed by Tony MacAlpine, except where noted.


Released: 1987
Recorded: Studio Prairie Sun Recording Studios in Cotati, California
Genre: Instrumental rock, neoclassical metal
Length: 38:53

Label – PolyGram Records

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