AFM Records [Release date 08.10.21]
When I interviewed Gus G back stage in Manchester in 2012 all the talk was how he had fared with Ozzy. He contributed to the album ‘Scream’ (2010) and there were high hopes of a more regular gig. But as time went on it became evident that Ozzy’s late career was in hiatus and then of course there was the brief Sabbath reunion. Then it seemed Zakk Wylde was back in favour.
The truth is that whilst the Ozzy gig was prestigious it took Gus G away from his own fanbase and his own furrow, ploughed since 2002 when he released the debut Firewind album.
Thankfully, in this respect, he returned to his first love and has since released four excellent band albums and three under his own name. Whilst the guitarist provides continuity and class Firewind have had a series of vocalists and long serving keyboard player Bob Katsionis left in 2020.
So on to 2021 and his first all instrumental album, which I am sure will tick a few more boxes for his fans. A bonus CD captures selected solo album highlights recorded live in Budapest in 2018.
Gus G is one of the more engaging and charismatic shredders around and this album is full of his fluid figures whether on tracks like ‘Exosphere’ or ‘Quantum Lead’. The best bits are when he breaks things down as during the punchy mid-section of ‘Chronesthesia’ or the slower ‘Enigma Of Life’ and the Terminator beat of ‘Night Driver’.
Of course, an instrumental album is quite a challenge, both in terms of variety and in keeping the listener’s attention. As you might expect whilst there is no shortage of serial riffage (‘Judgement Day’, ‘Fierce’, Demon Stomp’, ‘Force Majeure’) Gus G piles on the melody too and in this respect comes across as a more metallic Satriani in places (‘Not Forgotten’). But unlike other guitarist solo albums you won’t find any big diversions here, no country picking and no funk or blues.
Overall, the album may be too widdly-diddly for some and maybe even a little predictable (and old school) for others. It may be a ‘Quantum Leap’ only in title but melodic metal guitar lovers will still wet themselves. ***1/2
Review by David Randall
David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 12 September 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at www.getreadytorock.com for that week.
UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020 and 2021 Finalist) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 14 September 2021.
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14:00-16:00 JACKSON BROWNE Downhill From Everywhere (indie)
Power Plays w/c 20 September 2021 (Mon-Fri)
BAD TOUCH Twenty Five Miles (Marshall)
THE HUMAN VEIL Enemies (indie)
DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY Now’s The Time (Golden Robot Records)
VANSLEEP Oceans (indie)
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