Friday, August 12, 2011

Glen Drover review from Progressive Rock Brazil

GLEN DROVER - "Metalusion"

The guitar player Glen Drover is well known by the Metal community for his work on bands like “Eidolon”, “King Diamond”, and “Megadeth”. But an unknown musical facet of Drover has been hidden from the Metallic audiences: aside from being a technical, powerful and angry metal-axe destroyer, Drover is also an appreciator of the Jazz and Fusion genres, with a penchant for names like “Jean-Luc Ponty”, “Al Di Meola” and “Frank Zappa”. So, armed with his guitar axe, and counting with the help of the extraordinary musicians Jim Gilmore (keyboardist of “Saga”), Paul Yee (bass), and Chris Sutherland (drums), Glen Drover headed for a solo career. Supported by the Progressive Metal label Magna Carta Records, he released a fabulous debut album, titled “Metalusion” (April, 2011).

The album contains 10 instrumental tracks, half of which are covers of Drover’s favorite non-metallic musicians; and features special appearances of very special guests: the guitar players Vinnie Moore (“Vicious Rumors“, “UFO”), Fredrik Akesson (“Opeth”, “Talisman”), Chris Poland (“Ohm”, Megadeth”), Jeff Loomis (“Sanctuary”, “Nevermore”), and Steve Smyth (“Forbidden”). The sonority lays on the grounds of Metal-Fusion, paralleling the solo work of guitarists like “Vinnie Moore”, “Jason Becker”, “Marty Friedman”, “Tony McAlpĂ­ne“, “Joey Tafolla“, “Joe Satriani”, “Steve Vai”, “Yngwie Malmsteen”, “Paul Gilbert”, “Marc Bonilla”, and project-bands like “Liquid Tension Experiment”, “Planet X”, and “CAB”.

The opening tracks “Ground Zero” and “Frozen Dream” were co-written by Drover and Gilmour.
“Ground Zero” is an effervescent piece divided in two sections: the first one is heavy, dynamic and metallic, and the second one leans to a hard Prog-Fusion, with amazing participation of keyboards, bass and drums. This piece is crowned by two awesome guitar duels - first of Drover against Chris Poland, and later of Drover against Vinnie Moore.
“Frozen Dream” has a stronger Prog-Fusion lean than the preceding, and features Steve Smyth as second demolition guitar player. This piece reminds me of the solo works of both “Vinnie Moore” and “Joey Tafolla”, but with a stronger keyboard contribution.
Driven by breath-taking technical expertise, “Egyptian Danza” (“Al Di Meola’s” cover) gains in rage and lust, without loosing its essence. Paul Yee on bass is especially destructive here, exchanging incredible phrases with Drover, and making this track one of the best reinterpretations ever written for that classic.
The following track, “Colors of Infinity”, is light, calm and melodic, like a jazz-ballad in the style of “Vinnie Moore” and “Vai”, but containing a middle incursion of dark progressive keyboards.
The intro of “Illusions of Starlight” (co-written by Yee) brings “Rush” to mind, but this piece contains much more variation; including cool fusion passages on keyboards, and guitar riffs reminiscent of “John Petrucci’s” solo work.
The following two tracks are covers of “Jean-Luc Ponty”: “Don’t Let the World Pass You By” (featuring Fredrik Akesson) and “Mirage” (featuring Jeff Loomis). “Don’t Let…” is busted by the opulent duel of guitars and energetic keyboard solos, switching the original jazzy atmosphere for a metallic raging spirit, being supported by a still faster and powerful Heavy-Fusion rhythmic section.
On “Mirage”, in contrast, the Jazz-Fusion quality of the original piece was retained due to the perfect transmutation of the violin solos into guitar solos by means of the use of vibratos and modulation effects.
On “Ascension”, a soaring layer of pianos and beautiful synthesizers support a slow and melodic guitar theme, creating a dreamy and spiritual, mood.
The two last tracks of the record are covers of “Frank Zappa”, reinvented by Drover. “The Purple Lagoon” is short, slow, and heavy. It is the intro for “Filthy Habits”, transformed into a Heavy-Metal piece thanks to the slow tempo, dark atmosphere, heavy guitar riffing, perfect shredding technique, and exquisite elaboration of the main theme, sounding like a meeting of “Zappa” with old “Black Sabbath”.

Extraordinary and brilliant, Glen Drover’s “Metalusion” is one of the greatest releases of its kind, worthy of figuring in any collection of Neo-Classical or Metal-Fusion, being indispensable for fans of “Vinnie Moore”, “Jason Becker”, “Marty Friedman”, “Tony McAlpine“, “Joey Tafolla“, “Joe Satriani”, “Steve Vai”, “Yngwie Malmsteen”, “Paul Gilbert”, “Marc Bonilla”, “John Petrucci”, “Scott Henderson”, “Alex Skolnick“, “Greg Howe”, and so on.

Band members and collaborators involved in Glen Drover are: Glen Drover – Guitars; Jim Gilmore – Keyboards; Paul Yee – Bass; Chris Sutherland – Drums. Guest guitarists: Vinnie Moore, Fredrik Akesson, Chris Poland, Jeff Loomis, and Steve Smyth... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)