Gus G became known to me through Nightrage where he played on was their debut guitarist and has returned for many albums guest spots since but looking at his career so far, I have actually been listening to him play without really knowing it. This is his second solo album that I came across by pure chance through it being “suggested listening” through a music site. To be honest, this year has so far been pretty amazing in regards to the quality of heavy metal albums coming out so I was more than willing to take a chance on another.
Gus G, real name Kostas Karamitroudis, was born in Greece in 1980 and has a pretty impressive collection of bands he has played for such as Nightrage, Mystic Prophecy, Dream Evil, Arch Enemy, In This Moment, Firewind and Ozzy Osborne. His first solo album, called I am the Fire, was very successful and seems to have cemented his place as one of the most talented axe men in the industry. Brand New Revolution was released in July, 2015 and while the main guitar duty is obviously Gus himself, he does have a plethora of talented guests on board to help with other duties, especially vocals such as Jeff Scott Soto (ex Journey), Elize Ryd (Amaranthe), Mats Leven (Candlemass) and Jacon Bunton(Adler and Lynam).
The new album has 12 tracks in total on it and weighs in at around 41 minutes long in total.
The first track is called The Quest and jumps straight into an impressive lead guitar over a thumping bass and drum beat. It is an instrumental song that lasts for just under 4 and a half minutes and the song is very much a showcase of Gus G’s immense talent as it weaves through technical lead after lead over some amazingly rhythmic Metallica esque riffs. There is a real power metal feel at points to. With a minute left in the song, there is a sudden switch to an acoustic classical styled guitar which carries on a nice little melody through to the end.
Track 2 is the title track, Brand New Revolution and starts off with a slower riff and a prominent bass. The singing isn’t particularly heavy and has more of a power metal feel to it but it suits the rhythm of the song perfectly and the chorus, which sees the guitars and drums up their speed, is really catchy. A slow down for the next verse before that catchy chorus again. An expected guitar solo follows, played at speed that eventually leads into that chorus again. A really catchy track.
Track 3 is the shortest on the album, at just less than 3 mins long, and is called The Burn. A slowish rhythmic riff leads the verses over some very 80’s sounding lyrics. A repetitive pattern is used throughout the song, broken up really only by short guitar leads overplaying the main riff. A breakdown near the end switches things up with some offbeat drumming and guitar blasts before launching into a thrash guitar solo played at ferocious speed which eventually leads back into a final chorus.
We Are One is up next and starts up with a softly sung verse before picking up the pace with an awesome little riff. The verses are softly sung but over a catchy riff that is played faster. It’s really impressive and will get your foot tapping without you even realising. A short, very singable chorus interrupts the two verses, each of which follows the same pattern. The end of the second chorus has an unexpected scream before a thrash section that again leads into an exceptional guitar solo. At the end of this we have a short section of drums and vocals only (imagine everyone clapping along) before it is the chorus over lead guitar through to the end.
What Lies Below is up next and has a very different feel to its intro, with a darker, heavier riff more akin to Pantera. That changes quickly into female vocals over a rather disappointing effect ridden tune in the background unfortunately. The singers voice is great, don’t get me wrong and the guitar work and drums in the background also sound really good but they seem to have been unnecessarily mixed to death. During the sections where guitar leads, it is really good track but I am not too keen on the heavily mixed sections. There is a great guitar solo at the end that helps to redeem some of the faults in this song though.
Behind Those Eyes is a slower, ballad styled song. It is played beautifully and sang even better and like many great metal ballads has an increase in volume and aggression through each chorus. There are little intricate solos happening at points through the song and a huge one at the end of the second chorus. That solo leads back into a chorus and as the song nears its conclusion, it slows down into the opening tune but with the addition of technical lead guitar hooks mixed in. This is actually quite a beautiful song.
Gone to Stay is the seventh track on the album and starts with a chugging, distorted riff before a high pitch lead spirals through some note. It plays at a pretty steady pace, not particularly quick and has another really catchy and brilliantly sung chorus which has a real 80’s rock anthem feel to it. As expected it has a really long and brilliantly played solo in it which is slow at first over fast drums but speeds up as it takes over the drums. Back to that catchy chorus through to the end.
One More Try is next and is a slow one. A whining guitar over an acoustic melody starts the track up. The singing is fantastic, especially in the latest great chorus where the volume raises a little but stays within the realms of a ballad. It kind of reminds me a little of old school Skid Row which is a good thing. There is a short solo followed by a chorus to end the track. Not an inspiring track but it is nice.
Come Hell or High Water is up next and picks the pace back up with a speedy grungy riff. When the singing astarts it is with a real, Sebastian Bach styled high pitch tone. While not thrashy in speed it chugs along with a low toned riff that, as the sdong progresses, gets interlaced with high pitch squeals from the lead guitar. A huge guitar solo plays through towards the songs end.
The tenth track is called If It Ends Today and starts with a apacy little riff and fast drums. The sung verses see a slow down in tempo but the choruses pick up again and have some really interesting guitar hooks going on. Another slow down for the second verse and then back to the pacier stuff again that carries ion to the end. A short track really at 3 minutes and 10 seconds but an enjoyable one.
Next up is Generation G which has a fantastic little introductory riff. The verses have a real fist pump feel to them and while not particularly fast as a song, it has a very fast drum beat and guitar solo near the end. There is a really catchy chorus that is, once again very singable, and the ending of the song picks back up on that same brilliant introductory riff. Good track.
The final track is called The Demon Inside and is the longest track on the album by some way at over 5 mins. It has a slow, finger picked melody at the beginning over singing, but not in a ballad style, it has a much more rockier feel to it. With a sudden chugging guitar the drums and electric lead take over with a really great, thrashy riff. It’s not really pacey but feels heavy. The singing turns into a higher pitch tone for the verses but still carries that dark undertone and there is yet another catchy chorus. This pattern continues throught he middle portion of the song too before we get the inevitable solo (I love that there is an inevitable solo). It sounds like a really complex beast of a solo and weaves through different tones and tempos throughout. The end of the solo lead aback into the dark chorus which itself eventually fades into that slow, intro melody. This is a very strong finishing track.
Gus G is obviously a fantastically talented individual and he has cleverly pulled in the help of some equally talented musicians to make a solid rock/metal album that is jam packed full of guitar solos. It does feel that a little continuity is lost in the album through the different vocal styles of the many singers and there are a few teracks I found less interesting than others. Having said that, there are also a few exeptional tracks that I will be listening to for many years to come and even those less interesting ones all had a great solo to look forward to. All in all a very good album, just sitting a little below exceptional.
Gus G - Brand New Revolution (Century Media Records)