Ronnie James Dio unleashed a slew of championship guitarists, but one notable who flew under the radar was Tracy Grijalva. An underrated genius, he contributed to some of the darkest and most terrifying playing in the ’90s-era Dio catalogue.
The albums Strange Highways and Angry Machines are Exhibit A. If you have any doubts, check out the live albums Inferno: Last In Live or Live In London as Tracy brusquely manhandles Vivian Campbell’s melodic template and takes Dio’s lyrics to new places.
Tracy has never stopped playing and this latest is a blistering achievement with a muscular vibrato, brutal rhythms, and guitar tones to die for. His ominous melodic thumbprint remains intact as vocalist Michael Beatty and bassist Randy Oviedo join drummers Ray Luzier and Patrick Johansson for 13 heart-pounding compositions.
The instrumental tracks “California Jamboree Funkfest,” “P.C.H.,” and “Erector” simply kill, while the album’s opener “Revolution” and “Leech” – featuring the ballsy extrovert Beatty on vocals – showcase excellent ensemble work.
Tracy G. is a uniquely imaginative guitarist with vision and style. Tramp contains a variety of moods from the hard-hitting “Arrogant Prick” to the somber “Me Myself And The Rain.”
This article originally appeared in VG March 2018 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.