Chris Cafferty House Of Insanity

Best known as the six-string samurai for Euro-metal brigade Savatage and current hipster outfit Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Chris Cafferty is an established name. Looking to expand horizons, latest effort House Of Insanity slips back into the familiar territory of his previous, more metallic tendencies, albeit with a strong dose of prog rock, à la Styx. Modestly instinctive when it comes to foundation, the album's 13 tracks feature relatively moving rhythms that revolve around uncomplicated chug patterns and heart-palpitating drum beats. However, once Cafferty lays down these basic elements, things start to become rather impetuous. From meandering keyboards to overwrought vocals, the end result feels something like King Diamond's mid-'80s backing band incorporating the obtuse aspects of early '80s Special Forces/Dada-era Alice Cooper, where he was obviously mental, writing these creepy, but borderline incoherent songs dripping with synth. Then again, maybe that's the point, given the title. Still, while a touch juvenile and long, the inspiration, intent and passion on House Of Insanity make it an enjoyable listen. (Face The Music)