Shreddin' on another level
Back in the 1990s, guitarist Marty Friedman rose to fame by helping to establish the thrash metal genre with Megadeth’s album, Rust In Peace. After one last show with the band on January 14, 2000, Marty Friedman departed from Megadeth and moved to Japan in 2003. Since moving to Japan, Marty has become a superstar. Not only has he released plenty of amazing solo projects, in 2012 Friedman played on three tracks for the Nintendo 3DS game, Bravely Default. The identifiable elements of Marty’s guitar playing are swiftness, the components of thrash metal, and melody. Once you know Marty’s sound, his work in Bravely Default becomes hard to miss.
The first track Marty plays is That of the Name, a boss theme that focuses on quickness. In one section of the song there is a mishmash of violins and guitars. The speed of the cacophony feels like a pendulum swinging back and forth, adding to the intensity of the boss fight. At another point there is a pause, and a guitar solo is played. During this solo, Marty plays at a great pace, emphasizing the song’s climax before looping back to the beginning. That of the Name does a great job of showcasing Marty’s lightning-fast abilities.
The second track Marty is heard on is Beyond the Battle, a boss theme focusing on intensity. This song also contains a solo by Marty. The solo leans heavily on the metal side of things, and you get a great sense of the song’s power through this. While an orchestra is faintly heard in the background of this solo, the guitar takes over with authority. This Marty solo is my favorite part of the song due to how clean and crisp it is, and it also adds a little touch of nineties Megadeth. It’s easy to see how Marty’s past work helped influenced his approach in Beyond the Battle.
The third and final track that Marty plays is the credits theme, Onward Into the Light: A Ballade, a song with an incredibly strong melody. This composition has a quite a richness to it, thanks to the three contrasting elements blended together:
- Joelle’s and Revo’s vocals
- The sweetness of the violin’s solo
- The heaviness of Marty’s solo
All of these come together beautifully, making for a song that truly stands out. In particular, Marty’s solo adds a bit of speed and heaviness from his other Bravely Default tracks, but takes a more melodic approach akin to Megadeth’s song, A Tout Le Monde.
These three songs, which represent speed, thrash metal, and melody are elements that exemplify Marty’s uniqueness as a guitar player. Without Marty, these tracks would lack a certain something that screams through due to his guitar work. Marty is truly one of a kind, adding a style and feeling that only he can manage.
I was actually lucky enough to meet the guitar god himself back in late 2018. At that time, Marty Friedman announced a tour across the United States. As soon as I saw that he was coming to my hometown, I ran down the stairs, barged into my parents’ bedroom, and told my mother the news. The very next day, I purchased tickets and VIP passes for both myself and my parents. Finally, after four long months of waiting, my family hopped into the car and sped off to the concert. Once we arrived at the venue, we were taken to a waiting room with a group of VIPs who were all waiting to climb aboard Marty’s tour bus for a meet-and-greet. When my turn finally came, I could barely contain myself. I entered the tour bus and greeted Marty, who instantly came across as humble, down-to-earth, and a complete gentleman. I gave him a binder I had made for him, along with a box of Cap’n’ Crunch, his favorite cereal. Marty was quite excited to receive the gifts, going so far as to say he’d be having Cap’n’ Crunch for breakfast the next day! Finally, Marty seemed impressed that I knew of his work on Bravely Default, saying that when he returned to Japan, he would tell Bravely Default composer Revo that he met a fan in Pittsburgh.
Meeting Marty has added a surreal aspect to Bravely Default for me, and it’s one I’ll hold on to forever. Every time I see Marty walk across a stage, it brings back memories of meeting him, which feels almost like a dream. Hopefully one day I’ll be able to see both Marty and Revo take to the stage for a Bravely Default tribute!