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Jordan Rudess - Wired for Madness Award winner

Jordan Rudess
Wired for Madness
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 05 June 2019, 7:20 AM

DREAM THEATER’s Jordan Rudess will release his brand new spiraling and stunning solo album “Wired for Madness” on April 19 via Music Theories Recordings / Mascot Label Group. “Wired for Madness” bursts and flows forth with all of the drama, technique and melodicism that have become his musical hallmarks, the album also features the keyboard wizard handling many of the vocals. Renowned guests include drummer Marco Minnemann, DREAM THEATER front man James LaBrie, guitarists Vinnie Moore, Guthrie Govan, Joe Bonamassa and John Petrucci. There are appearances by notable players including drummers Rod Morgenstein and Elijah Wood among others. The album contains eight tracks.

“Wired for Madness – Part 1” leads off the album. It’s a twelve minute beast, opening with odd distorted spoken words that sound like they are the voice of a computer. The bass guitar is pronounced in the opening sequence, and man is it hot. Keys begin to dance in this Proggy landscape of shifting meters. Jordan is not afraid to show off his prowess on the instrument, and it’s fantastic. This song has it all…there are even some Jazzy elements present. It ends in a piano and vocal sequence. “Wired for Madness – Part 2” is a 22 minute albatross. It’s another fluid track that explores many different sounds…traditional keyboard melodies, Industrial style Metal, heavy riffing at points, and both male and female vocals. There really is no central point to the song however and I wonder how he can keep track of all of the various things going on here.

“Off the Ground” showcases Jordan’s piano skills with vocals in a succinct five-minute track. “Where do we go? Nobody knows all the answers” the singer croons. It’s a melancholy sound with a sprinkle of positivity. “Drop Twist” shows another side to the pre-teen piano prodigy. It has a funky melody dictated by hard, staccato notes and long, drawn out melodies in the background. “Perpetual Shine” also has a funky twist augmented with some wonderful keyboard solos spread throughout. The amount of echo he gets from the instrument is huge. It makes the song sound like it surrounding you in warmth.

“Just Can’t Win” is a groovy Bluesy song, complete with vocals a-la Johnny Cash. Both a keyboard and a guitar solo push that bluesy feeling to the max, and it has a fun-loving swing. It ends in a “Big Band” sort of sound where everything comes crashing together. “Just for Today” is a tender song, opening with soft piano notes. The vocals are pensive and work well with the piano, creating a bit of a dreary sound overall. “Why I Dream” closes the album, with some distorted spoken words that lead to soft vocals. At first it’s ethereal but it picks up with some bass guitar noted underneath piano and eventually keys.

Overall, I very much enjoyed the album. I’ve often wondered what Jordan would sound like out of the constraints of one of my favorite bands of all time, DREAM THEATER. Most of his mates have done solo work…JAMES LABRIE, LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT, THE JELLY JAM, and others. It’s a chance to showcase the individual talents and expressions of very talented musicians, and Rudess is no exception. His physical skills on the keys are un-matched in the industry. What he has given us here is a look into his personality, and it’s quite eclectic. The songs range from Bluesy numbers to Proggy Metal and everywhere in between. It reveals the depth of his songwriting abilities are very deep.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Wired for Madness – Part 1
2. Wired for Madness – Part 2
3. Off the Ground
4. Drop Twist
5. Perpetual Shine
6. Just can’t Win
7. Just for Today
8. Why I Dream
Jordan Rudess – Keyboards
Record Label: Music Theories/Mascot Label Group


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