By Jason Wellwood
I’m not a big instrumental album kinda guy. I find that a lot of instrumental albums have little in the way of song structure for me, and I like the focus of vocals or a lyrical melody line in a song. That being said, if an album does have that ‘something special’ to it that allows me to focus in on the song, it can be an incredible thing. Glen Drover has obviously been paying attention all these years to folks with opinions like mine as Metalusion is definitely a guitar player’s album but the song structures could easily have had vocals laid over top of them. The melody lines are there, but the guitar and keyboards effectively take over the place where the vocals would be. Although Drover has long been known for his metal contributions, apparently he’s always been a fan of jazz-fusion and progressive music as well. About half the songs on the album are covers or reworkings of some of his favourite pieces by Al Di Meola (‘Egyptian Danza’), Jean Luc Ponty (‘Don’t Let The World Pass You By’ and ‘Mirage’) and Frank Zappa. I particularly liked his take on the final two tracks ‘Filthy Habits’ and ‘The Purple Lagoon’, as I’m also a Frank Zappa fan and I think Frank would enjoy these more metallic re-imaginings of his pieces as well. Zappa was a very underrated guitar player in his own right and Drover definitely kept this in mind while recording these songs.
One of the heaviest tracks on the album is the lead off track ‘Ground Zero’ which also features an incredible guitar duel with Chris Poland and Vinnie Moore. Elsewhere on the album you get solos by Jeff Loomis (‘Mirage’) and Fredrik Akesson (‘Don’t Let The World Pass You By’) but don’t let that distract you: It’s really Drover’s work here that impresses and keeps everything tied together. While it’s obvious that the album is to be a showcase for the guitar playing, the song is always kept in mind and the solos don’t wander into ‘jam’ (DANGER!) territory. Drover has ensured that the song is the focus and kept things very tight and tasteful. The guitar work and song composition on Metalusion will not allow you to turn this into background music, it’s an album that you will definitely want turned up loud in the car.