CD Reviews

Jeff Loomis - 'Plains Of Oblivion' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     August 16, 2012    
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May not be to everyone's taste but undoubtedly as a showcase for Jeff Loomis' talent its right up there.

Jeff Loomis has come a long way since he auditioned for Megadeth at the age of sixteen. Dave Mustaine considered him too young to be a part of the band at that time but was impressed enough to introduce him to Sanctuary where he spent two years with the band before they split. Teaming up with Warrel Dane (vocals) and Jim Sheppard (bass) from Sanctuary the three of them formed Nevermore cutting seven albums which is where Jeff made his name as a progressive and innovative riff master with astonishing dexterity to his playing that had he been around in the mid 80’s he would’ve been snapped up by Mike Varney in a heartbeat, I’m sure.

Joining Jeff on this, his second solo offering is Soilwork’s Dirk Verbeuren on the drum stool and Shane Lentz on bass, discovered on Youtube by Jeff after uploading a series of videos. Kind of the in-thing with bands these days don’t you think? A great way to put yourself out there as I’ve met some great players in my time that have only ever progressed from their bedroom to their dad’s garage.

Opening track ‘Mercurial’ features a guest appearance from none other than Marty Friedman and has some very fast fret work alongside the double bass drumming of Veubeuren whilst next track up ‘The Ultimatum’ again features a guitar god, this time Tony MacAlpine, with occasional heavy grunge riffs and some fast fretboard runs and tapping. There’s some great interplay between Jeff and Tony as Veubeuren’s double bass drumming and Lentz’s bass underpin the whole soiree. But don’t think this is an entirely instrumental album. ‘Tragedy And Harmony’ is the first of four songs (two of them only on the European limited edition) that feature Christine Rhoades (from local Seattle bands ‘Flood’ and ‘The Chauffeur’, plus previous guest work for Nevermore).

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‘Tragedy And Harmony’ feature her sharp yet velvet vocals which are tracked in a multi-layered effect that give off a Lacuna Coil feel whilst Jeff downtunes to the minor chords and indulges in scales and runs on the solo whilst she lends her voice to the mellow ‘Chosen Time’ peppered with acoustic notes and a haunting melody.

Elsewhere you get guitarist/vocalist Ihsahn, from infamous Norwegian Black Metallers ‘Emperor’ , maybe a surprising choice to some but increasing the diversity of Jeff’s songs nonetheless as he lends his particular distortion bled guitars and guttural vocals to the track ‘Surrender’.

Ex Megadeth guitarist Chris Poland plays on ‘Continuum Drift’ which is curiously mellow and has Jeff playing with a harmonised ethereal tone through his box of tricks amongst all the arpeggio runs and Nevermore touring guitarist Attila Voros pops up on ‘Requiem For The Living’ which is quite interesting as Veubeuren’s drumming isn’t strictly in 2/4 timing and there are some unusual keyboard effects amongst the slower paced guitaring and key changes and interesting use of chord structure.

This may not be to everyone’s taste but undoubtedly as a showcase for Jeff Loomis’ talent its right up there!

Carl Buxton

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