Most of daves solos nowadays sound improvised. Don't know if they are or not but some do sound it. It isn't a problem in it self but it could be why some of them lack confidence to my ears.
I guess the majority if not all he has ever done has been improvisation, so his approach to soloing hasn't changed - but his tone has, as already noted. The tone he had on Brave New World
and Dance of Death
and even on The Final Frontier
(title track especially) does have more authority, being more up front and smoother due to more gain and effects.
George Lynch use to call himself tone-dependent, and by that meaning that his playing is very affected by the tone he gets, and I guess that would apply to Dave to. There's no way he could do those smooth legato runs like the "Brave New World"-solo with this tone. It would sound much, much weaker. He sounds more like he did on "The Trooper" or other tracks from that time.
But this is common among musicians, as they evolve and get older they often start to appreciate subtlety more - and if there's something Dave lost with that more modern high gain tone with lots of ambience effects, it's subtlety. I just wish he would find a middle way, and use both types of tones.
SIT is where Adrian peaks at that repeated lick style of playing. Wasted years, CSIT and ATG are the best examples. His solos were brilliant but the structure very predictable, you would get a melodic phrase then a repeated lick, melodic phrase, repeated lick and so on. His solos nowadays are very unprectiable.
Adrian has improved massively over the years. Just compare his BOS or EOTC solo to his basic pentatatonic lick solos off ides of March for example.
Brilliant analysis of Adrian's early playing. Agree fully. Less obvious blues-licks, more interesting structure. He definitely has improved by trying to break out of the box. Dave or Janick never were in the box in the first place, so they didn't have that problem... By which I mean, their soloing has always had more of a free-form, floating, spur-of-the-moment-feel than Adrian's.
Yeah, I honestly wish they had distinct panning for each guitarist. It sure would make figuring out the solos easier.
Yes, but when there are three of them, it would sort of mean that one was more up front in the mix than the other two, all of the time. Switching around, we have three guitarists who share about equal time in the spotlight.
My favourite album for guitar solos is Dance of Death
by the way. I think all three of them were at the top of their game on that record.