Friday, August 7, 2015

Gus G. - Brand New Revolution (2015)

You cannot accuse Gus G. to be a typical Greek. Unlike most of his fellow countrymen who helped getting Greece into the financial situation they are at today, Gus G. takes action and keeps himself busy, never stopping, just keeps on rolling. Together with his main band Firewind and his partnership with Ozzy Osbourne, the guitar virtuoso revived his own solo project last year with the professional, but straggly "I Am The Fire". Now he is back with another attempt, trying to make a "Brand New Revolution" and hopefully give this project a real boost.

For those of you who listened to the last album, "Brand New Revolution" should not surprise you one bit. This album is like a trimmed down version of its predecessor, lowering the number of guest artists and putting more focus in making a more cohesive album. Even if these guest artists, including Elize Ryd (Amaranthe), Mats Levén (Candlemass), Jeff Scott Soto and Jacob Bunton, are doing a good job, it is still Gus himself who rightfully steals the show. The man knows how to handle a guitar and he does it with quite the honor, wheter it is in a exquisite solo or in a breathtaking instrumental.

However, it still surprise me that Gus still seem to show what a talented show writer he is instead of showing his true skills as a guitar player. Because it is like this, that the only instrumental in this album, "The Quest", is the best song of the album. One reason to this is that most of the songs here are rather bland, but it is also because Gus riffs and shreds with such ferocity and heart that it really comes through the speakers. I would give a lot to hear a full instrumental album by the man (There is one existing called "Guitar Master", Gus's first solo album, but I would not recommend it to anyone since it is extremely primitive, he has grown a lot since that was released).

The rest of the songs variates between standard hard rock songs, light metal, and half cheesy 80's-esque rock ballads. A weird mix that did not work in the last album, and is not working here either. I do like a couple of songs though. Elize Ryd fits perfectly in with "What Lies Below", a half Amaranthe, half Lacuna Coil creation that feels genuinely original compared to its brethren. The title track has a nice hooky chorus, that could have been faster and have more edge to it, but still works as it is (especially with that excellent solo). And while "We Are One" might have worked better for Papa Roach, it is still a decent and easily likeable tune that comes down without any resistance.

Most of the songs are just bland, forgettable tunes that goes in one ear and comes out the other. It is like a Teflon pan, it does not stick, what so ever. How can a man that has created such catchy tunes as "Head Up High", "I Am The Anger" and "World On Fire" write such boring material? I get that he does not want to take the Firewind sound into his solo project (even though he took the band emblem and made a similar copy to himself) and that he wants to spread his wings, but he must surely be capable of writing better stuff than this, right? Well, one could only hope...

No, this did not really appeal to me either. "Brand New Revolution" has the same problems as "I Am The Fire", only in a smaller scale. This is an improvement for the Greek, but he still has some way to go to make a good solo record. I suggest adding more instrumentals, which showcases his skills, and invite only one guest artist to do the vocal work, or even better, hire one so he can do live shows as well in the future. It worked for Slash, and it should work for Gus. One thing however I would not change is Gus' drive, and I hope that drive and passion brings out a new Firewind album soon enough, its been too long since the last one. Bring the fire!

Songs worthy of recognition:What Lies Below, The Quest, Brand New Revolution

Rating: 5,5/10 Demons Inside

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