Album Review – Jeff Loomis – Zero Order Phase

Firstly I apologise for not posting in a long time.. this was long overdue.. and I’m not going to bore you with reasons. Metal Militia is back after a LONG hiatus with a review of the new solo album by Nevermore songwriter and axe-man, Jeff Loomis.

The album has been long awaited by Nevermore fans since the success of Godless Endeavour (ranked on Guitar World’s 100 Greatest metal albums of all time in 2006), since the band said that they were on a break to work on other projects. Loomis has been the driving force behind Nevermore’s unique sound, and I for one was very eager to see how this album sounded (Downloaded it at 5 am today, heard it by 6 and again just now)

Ok a few things to note first of all. This is an instrumental album, which means that the common excuse that people have for not listening to rock and metal doesnt work here. And to say it is a benchmark in modern day shredding as well a tribute to prog metal shred legends like Marty Freidman, Jason Becker and Yngwe Malmsteen, is to aptly describe this album. Whoever said shredding in metal is dead hasnt heard this album. It combines the usual intensity of Jeff’s riffage and shred style with a Malmsteen-esque song structure and scale, not to mention senseless speed and technical skill on display. And no it is not noise; if you call this noise, then you’re in the wrong genre and someone made a mistake in giving you directions in listening to this album.

Unlike most solo shred albums, which get repetitive over time, each track on Zero Order Phase is unique in terms of the style of music; in fact it sounds like an album in which one could actually add lyrics and vocals, such is the nature of the song structure. The riffs are evolutions of Nevermore’s previous work, while borrowing heavily from death metal (You could say its death metal minus the extra distortion). Also, I noticed that while trying to compare this solo album to others that I’ve heard, it is unique in and of it self. No existing album that I know of sounds similar to this; and therein lies its charm. Its a very well composed progressive metal solo album, which is as good to listen to as Liquid Tension Experiment. Be warned however: it is progressive metal, and this means you should be a bit wary about turning up the volume, or if you are a newbie to this type of music, not listen to it at all… Otherwise enjoy

Overall rating : 5/5. An outstanding piece of work deserves all the accolades yet to be heaped upon it.

Tracks worth listening to: to be honest the entire album is worth listening to, but here are the critic’s favourites

Miles of Machines
Jato Unit
Sacrisity (slower than the rest, but no less impressive)
Shouting Fire at a Funeral

(Now available on insti LAN : search for Jeff Loomis on DC++)

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