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Eric Gillette - 'The Great Unknown' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/38/87/c0/Eric-Gillette-The-Great-Unknown-25-1486237143.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     February 04, 2017    
 
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A really terrific album.

Eric Gillette grabbed my attention in 2013 as a member of Neal Morse's touring band, but he really came into the spotlight for his superb guitar and vocal contributions on The Neal Morse Band's 'The Grand Experiment' album and tour, both of which marked him out as something rather special. Not content with being a guitar wunderkind and great singer, he's also extremely adept on drums and keyboards too. This is his second solo album after 2013's 'Afterthought', on which he played almost everything. Here, he appears to have enlisted specialist players rather than taking it all on his own shoulders. Therefore, there's Thomas Lang (drums), Connor Green (bass) and Diego Tejeida (keys) assisting him.

If you've a liking for Dream Theater, their guitarist John Petrucci, Enchant and Prog Metal in general I suspect you'll really appreciate this album, as Gillette has a similar touch to his playing and compositional abilities as the aforementioned Petrucci. Fast and technical he may be at times, but there's always melody at the heart of what he's playing, rather than just showing-off his shredding capabilities. His playing across the entire album is superb, the solos tuneful and relevant.

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The title track lays down a marker with its DT-esque riff, double bass drum beat and prominent bass lines; aside from Gillette's vocals being less strident than James LaBrie's, I can envisage this on a DT album. 'The Aftermath' has another great riff, a strong melody and effective chorus. Both guitar and synth solos are terrific. 'Escape' is the album's epic at eighteen minutes long, and it takes the pace down a notch or two; it's akin to the material on the aforementioned '...Experiment'. The opening instrumental section is wonderful and his impassioned vocals are tremendous. As with any epic it runs through various phases, the heavy section remains melodic and steeped in great themes.

'Damage Is Done' puts me in mind of Enchant, whilst 'Empty' opens with a delightful piano and strings refrain before Gillette's plaintive vocals overlay the piano. If one was expecting a one-trick pony this dispels that immediately, he can do subtle too – the guitar solo is fantastic. 'Runaway' is a great song with a Spock's Beard (the current version) feel to it. Closer 'All I Am' has a dense but never oppressive feel crossing over between DT and NMB aesthetics. A really terrific album.

Gary Marshall

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