Zero Order Phase review by Jeff Loomis

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  • Released: Sep 30, 2008
  • Sound: 5
  • Lyrics: 3
  • Overall Impression: 4
  • Reviewer's score: 4 Poor
  • Users' score: 9.7 (74 votes)
Jeff Loomis: Zero Order Phase

Sound — 5
Let me just start off by saying that I'm a huge Nevermore fan. They've been one of my favourite band's ever since I first picked up "This Godless Endeavor" in 2005. The combination of Jeff Loomis' amazing riffs, Van William's inventive drumming, Jim Sheppard's solid basswork, Steve Smyth's creative chord work and aintense vocals just made that album stick in my mind for so long. The band just knew how to write such epic songs. With all that in mind, this is what makes this album both interesting, and boring as watching paint dry. Jeff Loomis' first solo attempt enforces the utter and total power of Jeff Loomis, but also how much of a one trick pony he really is. When you listen to great solo albums (or even just instrumentals), the music should feel like it has vocals. The riffs should speak for themselves. It should never feel like it needs vocals, but that's exactly what Zero Order Phase feels like. It just feels like an incomplete Nevermore album. Don't get me wrong, Jeff shreds. Oh boy, does he ever shred. He shreds all over the place on this album, but that's all he does. He seems to have written an album made 2 or 3 riffs a song, and then tacked pointless shredding over the top. I think this album just proves how much Jeff needs the rest of Nevermore. Also, without space for vocals, he seems to have lost a bit of momentum with structure as some of the songs just downright don't work in the structure they're in. "Opulent Maelstrom" being a key example. Jeff Loomis is indeed a magnificent guitarist, but without Warrel, Jim, and Van behind him, that's all he is. A guitarist without a purpose.

Lyrics — 3
As an instrumental album, obviously there are no lyrics. That being said, as I pointed out earlier, a truly well written isntrumental album shouldn't feel like it needs vocals and this album does. It feels like one huge solo section from a Nevermore song. And in small doses, Jeff Loomis is possibly one of the guitarists in the world, but left to his own devices he just feels like another shredder with a 7-string.

Overall Impression — 4
I feel really bad, being so harsh on someone I idolise, but in all honesty, as someone who loves every single Nevermore song written to this day, I didn't enjoy this album at all. There are so many moments that are just perfect, and then they just disappear into a midst of shredding. So many sections where I expected Warrel to ascend through the mire and scream for salvation to the heavens, and instead I got some dork wanking the Harmonic Minor scale until it bled. The funny thing is, the best track on this album, "Miles of Machines", is the best track simply because it makes no pretences of being a song. It's just Jeff Loomis sweeping for no reason, over an awesome background. If the song was 2 minutes shorter, it would fit amazingly as an instrumental piece on a Nevermore album, or even a section in a bigger, longer full Nevermore song. All I can really say in summation is that the wait for Nevermore's next album really seems so much longer after this stumbling mess.

10 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Not a fan of the heavier riff stuff of Loomis, which is a little too metal riffy in style to me with some lead guitar melody thrown over the top, a lot of the tracks to me feel like they require vocals, unlike say PG's SFBDR which stands alone by itself. I think the album in general lacks a melody in a lot of the tunes, but hey some wicked 7 string riffs here. That said however, the man shreds at the speed of light, I mean I didn't hear too much legato on the mans playing, its pretty much picked almost all the way through, so big hats off. Clearly the opus here, and I have to say an absolutely excellent tune, is Miles of Machines - excellent stuff, cant wait to get my hands into arpeggios in this one - mean stuff.....
    cptazad wrote: I love this album, devil theory ftw! Jeff loomis seriously is the most under-rated musician/guitarist out there, its a shame
    are you ever right
    I can't put this album down. I love every song, but if I had to pick a favourite, it'd be Miles of Machines hands down. This song is truly an epic.
    DAMM! I love this CD! Contrary to what everyone else thinks,Miles of Machines is my least favorite on this CD. All of these songs kickass! Great album, i've been waiting for an instrumental metal album. 5*
    If yous all love the album buy his shred guitar masterclass DVD which TEACHES the insanity of his skills seriously WOW O.O
    Devil Theory and Opulent Maelstrom needs to be praised for their dissonance. Absolutely fantastic songs. Jato Unit and Miles of Machines fall on the other spectrum with predictable sweeps, but man still killer songs there! Long live Loom of Doom!
    (wide eyed and dropped jawed) Possibly one of the BEST guitar insrumental metal records of all time. Possibly best record of all time in general for that matter.
    Picked this up yesterday, and kicking myself in the ass for not buying it the day it came out. Easily one of the best albums I've heard in a long time. Not only does he showcase his shred skills (which are God-like) but this album some of the best riffs I've ever heard on a 7-string. And his guitar tone is monstrous!
    Lyrics and Singing : 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. // 1
    But you did... You gave the area a 1, bringing the score down from 10 to 7. I think instrumentals either shouldn't have the category or should receive and acutomatic 5 or 10. 10 because there's no criticizism for lyrics and 5 because that would be a fair middle ground rating and wouldn't artificially boost the albums score.