Sound — 10
Jeff Loomis knows his way around a guitar. And a studio. This CD has crystal clear production, so all the instruments shine through. From chugging grindcore guitars, to nimble thrash riffs, and all the gem-like luster of high speed guitar shredding this CD sounds amazing. Though I've heard people say the drums sound a little too "organic" I would have to beg to differ. To me they sound a little too mechanical, too perfect. That's not a legitimate complaint, just my opinion of what a drum sound should be. Musically, this CD covers a lot of stylistic territory ... within the metal genre of course. Neoclassical guitar scaling, hardcore breakdowns, and arpeggiated clean passages are commonplace often all within a single song. But whats most prevalent here is that this is a METAL instrumental album. Instrumetal if you will. The songs vary in tempo from light speed to land sloth and everything in between, but the dark haunting Jeff Loomis style of writing dominates every single note. Somehow he managed to make the standard guitar shred CD a musical piece of art. This album is as enjoyable to listen to as any Nevermore album or any comparable works. There are no lyrics, but the voice-like quality of his guitar tone coupled with great songwriting and solos make these songs just as expressive as anything Nevermore or any metal band have done for that matter. This is a Metal album - there's just no vocals. Incredibly well done.
Lyrics — 1
Unfortunately there are no lyrical accompaniments to go with his sublime music. This is a guitar solo album so it's not exactly a deficiency. I would have liked to know if there was a story behind the interesting song names like "Miles of Machines." No vocals usually equals no lyrics so I can't dock points off the CD for that.
Overall Impression — 10
Jeff Loomis has somehow made a guitar solo CD that is as fun to listen to as puzzle over it's seemingly infinite guitar mastery. If your a fan of Nevermore, or Metal, or just music period you will find something to enjoy in this stellar CD. I love every single song on this album, and have no complaints what'soever. The guitar work is almost arguably inhuman in it's virtuosity, the production is modern and clear, and the album is written brilliantly with a comfortable pace throughout. There are so many "Oh sh*t!" moments it's like a roller coaster ride of guitar pyrotechnics. Like 6 flags for guitar nuts. Overall I would have to say my favorite part of this CD is it's patient, well thought out pace. Each song is complimentary to the track before and after it, and each song takes a breath when it needs to. it's not all flash until it gets tiring. This guy has infinite chops, but more importantly he knows the true value of dynamic contrast. For every breath stealing moment, there's a clean passage or even an old-fashioned fretless guitar solo. Perfect album, my dream union between brutal metal and demi-god guitar work. The icing on the cake? The cookie monsters and / or demons with bronchitis weren't invited to this party!