Band: Gus G
Release Date: 20th April, 2018
Label: AFM Records
Review by Sean
I’ve been putting this off, because I tried to give it chances, honestly I did, but, for all the obvious talent that is there, this album comes off as just a giant “Look at me!” attention piece. It’s less about making good music, and more about just how much Gus G can do the guitar shred good. Yes, intentionally bad grammar there. That is how this comes across. “Me do guitar good.” There’s no style, no grace, no thought given to anything other than making Gus come across as a virtuoso. Is he talented? Clearly he is. We all know that. But, as good as he is, he will NEVER be Satriani. He will never be Hendrix. He will never be Vai or Malmsteen. He will only ever be Gus G.
That is no bad thing, mind. I’d love to be half as talented as he is, however, he really needs to keep his ego in check in his music. There is more to a band and album than just flashy guitar wankery. A band needs to be a complete unit to make an album good, and if it seems like I’m putting off on getting down to talking about the album properly, then you’ve figured me out. Ten points.
But, we can’t delay. To be honest, the sooner it’s talked about the sooner I can never hear it again. So, we begin with album opener, ‘Letting Go’. It begins heavy and fast, and, as you’d expect is guitar heavy, but not overly so. That comes later. As a song it’s a pretty good one. Kind of a hard rock meets metal kind of vibe.
Next up is ‘Mr. Manson’, and you can kind of guess it’s an Ozzy sounding and/or inspired track. It could well be an Ozzy song, only without the great man on vocals. Oddly, the solo is a VERY Power Metal styled solo. And with that solo, begins the showing off.
‘Don’t Tread On Me’ has a generic hard rock sound to it, and as will become a running theme, a flashy solo. As I said above, this is purely to show just how well Gus can work his fretboard. If you haven’t gotten that yet, then get ready, because he’s about to hammer that point home so hard, the dead horse won’t have anything left on it to flog.
Title track ‘Fearless’ is my favourite on the album, and it’s an instrumental, so read into that what you will. It’s not that I’m not a fan of the vocals, I just think if you’re going to show how “great” you are on guitar, maybe stick to having it be a guitar album, and not a band album. But I digress. The song itself has an acoustic opening, but a speedy one, before the electric guitar takes over, again. It’s immensely show-offy (is that a word? It is now), and for all it’s bells and whistles, I’ve heard better.
The next track is called ‘Nothing To Say’, and oh, how I wish that was actually true. I guess it’s his version of a shitty pop song, maybe? It’s total dreck, the absolute nadir of the album, which is saying something. Less of this shite, please.
Following on from that, but not much better, is ‘Money For Nothing’, his version of some sort of anti-consumerism song. It sounds like bad Nickelback. Think about that for a second. Bad
Nickelback. Like, ‘Rockstar’ bad.
‘Chances’ is better, but that’s not too difficult at this point, though right now the entire album is sort of just blending into one blob of generic 80’s rock. The pattern for the majority of songs goes: ’80’s rock verse and chorus, 80’s rock verse again, then chorus again, followed by out of place solo, back into chorus. There are a multitude of bands that do this formula a lot better.
So, you know that sound, that sort of “Japanese metal/video game music” sound? This is that sound. Imagine any sort of JRPG or Japanese shooter/action game from the late 90’s/early 2000’s and you’re not far off from what ‘Thrill of the Chase’ offers you.
At this point, I’d be talking about the last two tracks, but to be honest with you, I zoned out. They sounded like the same song, and by this point I’d had enough.
Is Gus an exceptional guitarist? Of course he is. Should he stick to Firewind? Too fucking right he should.
Avoid this album at all costs.
01. Letting Go
02. Mr Manson
03. Don’t Tread On Me
05. Nothing To Say
06. Money For Nothing
08. Thrill Of The Chase
09. Big City
10. Last Of My Kind