- Guest guitarists: Marty Friedman/Tony McAlpine/Attila Vörös/Chris Poland
American guitarist Jeff Loomis is back with his second solo effort, four years past his debut Zero Order Phase. New release, Plains Of Oblivion, sounds nothing like his former band Nevermore. Having that said, let's focus on the album and not on his background with that band, as it in my opinion, has nothing to do with this release. A release with seven instrumental tracks and three with vocals.
Solos, scales and speed makes this release feel a bit monotonous as we rush through the first five songs. It's well played, heavy and of course one hundred percent guitar based, as Jeff explores new paths with his instrument. The double bass drums must have been recorded on repeat, as they are heard through most songs. Sure the compositions and his chords are different from each other, but the lack of diversity is evident through the first half of the record.
The fourth track, Tragedy And Harmony, is the first one with vocals as Christine Rhoades enters. A song not that much different from the first three and track number five, but with less scales and with repetitive lyrics.
The second half of the album is a bit slower and the guitar play is more based on feeling than on speed and scales. Ihsahn (ex Emperor) however grunts through track number seven, the fierce and brutal Surrender. This neckbreaker is followed by a ballad sung by Christine and an acoustic three minute guitar piece called Rapture.
Perhaps an album you don't want to listen to every day, but it will work from time to time, unless if you're a musician with high goals, then listen thoroughly and learn! The songs aren't that good for someone who's not into instrumental stuff, but it's cool listening to Mr. Loomis' magnificent and striking guitar play.
This is the type of album that seems meaningless to rate,
because it's so depending on the listener's choice. I'm handing out
five chalices for this release and I'm taking a couple of deep breaths
for pulling through this tough task. To review and rate an instrumental
album; what was I thinking?