Review By Ali Blackdiamond
Artist: GUS G.
Album: I Am The Fire
Release Date: March 18th 2014
Label: Century Media Records
1. My Will Be Done (Feat. Mats Levén, YNGWIE MALMSTEEN, THERION, CANDLEMASS)
2. Blame It On Me (Feat. Mats Levén)
3. I Am The Fire (Feat. Blake Allison, DEVOUR THE DAY)
4. Vengeance (Feat. David Ellefson, MEGADETH)
5. Long Way Down (Feat. Alexia Rodriguez, EYES SET TO KILL)
6. Just Can’t Let Go (Feat. Jacob Bunton, ADLER)
7. Terrified (Feat. Billy Sheehan, MR.BIG, DAVID LEE ROTH)
8. Eyes Wide Open (Feat. Mats Levén)
9. Redemption (Feat. Michael Starr, STEEL PANTHER)
10. Summer Days (Feat. Jeff Scott Soto Ex- JOURNEY, Current TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA)
11. Dreamkeeper (Feat. Tom S. Englund, EVERGREY)
12. End Of The Line (Feat. Mats Levén)
Guitar virtuoso Gus G. has worked extremely hard over the years to achieve his current status in the music world. He is the creating force behind Greek metallers FIREWIND and in 2009 was chosen by Ozzy Osbourne to be guitarist in his band, as well as being involved in various other projects along the way.
Now Gus has released his first ever solo album. He has spoken many times over the last year about it being different to his other work. As mentioned in his 2013 interview with Blackdiamond, Gus stated that “a lot of the stuff is a bit more mellow, a bit more classic rock-ish sounding.”
As well as playing guitar (of course!), Gus also handles the keyboards and some bass on this 12 track offering, as well as producing the album. Joining the already mentioned guest artists are drummers Jeff Friedl (A PERFECT CIRCLE, PUSCIFER, DEVO), Daniel Erlandsson (ARCH ENEMY) and bass player Marty O’Brien (TOMMY LEE, WE ARE THE FALLEN).
“I Am The Fire” was released on March 18th and features quite a diverse selection of guests, as stated above. Cue vocalist Mats Levén on the storming intro track ‘My Will Be Done.’ It is full of catchy hooks and great melodies which are matched perfectly with Mats‘ gravelly tones. Already the album is oozing a classic rock vibe.
Even early on in the album, it’s obvious to see how well matched as a musical team Mats and Gus are, creating fantastically executed harmonies and layers of classic rock sounds on the second track ‘Blame It On Me.’
The selection of friends to appear as guests on this album has obviously been very carefully thought out by Gus, each one stamping their individuality on the songs. Even though there are two vocalists who aren’t really my ‘cup of tea’ (Blake Allison and Alexia Rodriguez), I can’t say anything bad about those songs, because they still sound great, especially the music.
Of course there are plenty of shredding solos to be heard on “I Am The Fire” by Gus, demonstrating his outstanding technical abilities, but always played with flair and feeling. The composition of the songs is first class; changes of pace, classic riffs and melodies, with a great production.
The two instrumental tracks, ‘Vengeance’ featuring David Ellefson and ‘Terrified,’ with Billy Sheehan are pure molten metal, the heaviest on the album. They’ve been on repeat at full blast since I first heard “I Am The Fire.” ‘Vengeance’ is over 4 minutes of paradise for fans of shredding and doesn’t let up whatsoever; this would be awesome to see live on stage. ‘Terrified’ is a little shorter, but no less of a metal onslaught to the eardrums, fantastic!
‘Redemption,’featuring Michael Starr of STEEL PANTHER makes a more than subtle change from his usual style and lyrical content, another classic rock style song.
Jeff Scott Soto’s contribution to “I Am The Fire” needs a huge highlighting mention. ‘Summer Days’ is a full-on ‘80’s nostalgia trip containing big rock sounds mixed with some softer moments. Again, a perfect blend of Jeff’s voice with the precision of Gus’s guitar riffs. A sure fire hit with fans of ’80’s rock, whether they were there at the time or not.
The whole album is like a breath of fresh air and it’s great to see Gus venturing into pastures new with “I Am The Fire.” Definitely a new favourite in my collection and I’m sure it will be for both fans of Gus G. and classic rock.