Sound — 10
The sound of this album is utterly insane! Instrumental heavy speed neo-classical shred from hell could probably be the most suitable name for this album. Never since first hearing Yngwie Malmsteen's "Rising Force" has an album's sound really made me feel so inspired and excited as this one has. Rusty Cooley has got to be one of (if not the) fastest guitar players out there, shred fans must get this CD. I had first heard a couple of songs through a friend who had randomly downloaded some of Rusty's tunes. Instantly, I was hooked onto his sound and mind-blowing technique. It felt so fresh and new-sounding that I had to get the whole album just to see what this guy's like. In short-he's unbelievable. On top of it all, he playes in several styles including jazz fusion all the way through neo-classical shred & a whole bunch in between. A very diverse album, one thing that strikes you first is the fact that Rusty plays almost exclusively on 7-string guitars which proves that not only is he skilled but the fact that when he's not playing on 7-string guitars, he plays an 8-string guitar! And that alone is impressive enough to get anyone's attention.
Lyrics — 9
Note: This album is almost entirely instrumental. However, there are a couple of bonus vocal versions of two of the songs courtesy of the singer in Rusty's vocal band "Outworld". Appearently, talent has struck his entire band because the vocals are very good, with a strong sense of control and a good range for measure. Just the same I will us this section to rate the effectiveness of the composing and arranging as opposed the lyrical content due to the fact that the vocal songs are bonuses.
Overall Impression — 10
This album is one hell of an innovation and original sound within the shred genre. Any true fan of shred will love this album and then some. All of Rusty's influences are evident on the songs and the arrangements are very well strategized, not to mention the soloing which is only describable as "god-like". Furthermore, a surprising aspect is Rusty's ability to play with a lot of soul and heart in some of the passages (which is eveident in songs such "Jazzmine's Song" which he wrote for his daughter) are also a great aspect of this album that listeners should be in tune with while listening to this self-titled. The best tunes on this album are most definitely "Dark Matter", "War Of The Angels" & "The Duel". But don't let those 3 tracks be the only ones you listen to or be the reason for which you buy this album. Every song has a great sense of structure and mind-boggling riffage and soloing that will make you wanna listen to it over and over again. Everything is well-written and I have nothing bad to say about this album. If someone stole this album, I would track them down, and torture them beyond the lyrical compsing likes of Cannibal Corpse!