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Jeff Loomis – Plains of Oblivion Award winner

Jeff Loomis
Plains of Oblivion
by YngwieViking at 16 April 2012, 6:47 PM

Warning: this is not for everyone…This album contains some of most intense Shredding chops and several highly flamable licks heard inages !!!

Jeff Loomis’s "Zero Order Phase”, the first album by once NEVERMORE guitarist released in early 2008, was a great CD for all Jason Becker / Marty Friedman fans and also all SHRAPNEL's nostalgic  moments! For me Jeff Loomis plays like the bastard child of Jason Becker and Alex Skolnick, and his SHRAPNEL influences are clearly perceptible on "Zero Order Phase” like a modern and very heavy "Speed Metal Symphony"! Despite the little thin drum sound, which was too thin for me, everything else was top notch. Some tracks like "Jato Unit" or "Rage Against Disaster" sounds like huge outtakes from "Dragon’s Kiss" or "Perpetual Burn" but with a modern twist and always some very tasty shredding parts & very strange harmonized melodies! Since then, I became a real supporter of Mr. Loomis, but then his adventures with NEVERMORE came to an end, so it seems like a new chapter has just begun…

After the  first three tracks you will be blown away and in the same time by now pretty sure that this album is a killer… A mass murderer! You most likely already assumed, by my first reaction, that "Plains of Oblivion" is a slag torpedo but it's even more than that…

"The Ultimatum" / "Mercurial" / ”Escape Velocity" is a lethal trio, but it became another kind of album when Jeff found and introduced a new twisted magic trick… A female singer… Some dark Melodies with great lyrics, not that far from the NEVERMORE style but with a mellow singing… No diva things here… Just a good contrast between pretty heavy music and heartfelt vocals, his secret weapon's name is miss Christine Rhoades"Chosen Time" isn't the most original but it's a nice ballad with some solemn crystal singing diversity and divergence. Is that the counterpoint target? Even if some tracks are still bloody extreme in their musical construction!

Then “Requiem For The Living”  restores the apocalyptic early feelings, with another whirlwind instrumental… Just to paved the road for "Surrender" with eminent Norwegian Ihshan as guest… So here you know what to expect… Progressive Organized Chaos, I’ll call it! "Rapture" is a strange little acoustic piece, like Django meets down tuned bayou swamp blues (???) and finally the slow "Sibylline Origin" is excessively heavy and one of the most emblematic song…Virtuosic but Ballsy!

The guitar wizards guest list is sublime: Tony MacAlpine (ex-MARS / RING OF FIRE / CAB / PLANET X/ SEVEN THE HARDWAY) / Marty Friedman (ex-HAWAII / CACOPHONY / MEGADETH) / Chris Poland (ex-MEGADETH/OHM) & Attila Voros (ex-NEVERMORE).

Production wise, we can enjoy a fat and clear sound, very recommended is the media book edition with 3 bonus tracks as the great instrumental "Continuum Drift" and 2 more interesting vocals track featuring Christine. Unlike "Zero Order Phase" this album is finally for everyone… Everyone who likes intelligent music made by gifted musicians.

4 Star Rating

1. Mercurial
2. The Ultimatum
3. Escape Velocity
4. Tragedy and Harmony
5. Requiem For The Living
6. Continuum Drift
7. Surrender
8. Chosen Time
9. Rapture
10. Sibylline Origin
11. Collide
12. Reverie For Eternity 
Jeff Loomis- Guitars
Dirk Verbeuren-Drums
Shane Lentz  Bass
Ihsahn-Vocals (track 7)
Christine Rhoades-Vocals (female) (track 4, 8,11,12)
Chris Poland-Guitars (lead) (track 6)
Attila Vörös-Guitars (lead) (track 5)
Tony MacAlpine-Guitars (lead) (track 2)
Marty Friedman-Guitars (lead) (track 1)  
Record Label: Century Media


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