"some music was meant to stay underground..."

Glen Drover - "Metalusion" (CD)

Glen Drover - "Metalusion" CD cover image

"Metalusion" track listing:

1. Ground Zero Special Guests - Chris Poland and Vinnie Moore
2. Frozen Dream Special Guest - Steve Smyth
3. Egyptian Danza [Al DiMeola Cover]
4. Colors Of Infinity
5. Illusions Of Starlight
6. Don't Let The World Pass You By [Jean-Luc Ponty Cover] - Special Guest - Fredrik Akesson
7. Mirage [Jean-Luc Ponty Cover] - Special Guest - Jeff Loomis
8. Ascension
9. The Purple Lagoon [Frank Zappa Cover]
10. Filthy Habits [Frank Zappa Cover]

Reviewed by on March 23, 2011

"Unfortunately, the sometimes aimless jazz elements often overpower the metal melodies, creating songs that, while well-played, don't feel like they really go anywhere."

Ex-Megadeth and Eidolon guitarist Glen Drover's solo debut "Metalusion" features plenty of flashy fretwork that will no doubt appeal to those who prize technical skill above all else. Those looking for memorable melodies in this jazz-rock-tinged album may find themselves lost in the shuffle.

In the album's best moments, on tracks like "Frozen Dream" and "Ground Zero," Drover brings the ferocity of his playing on Megadeth's "United Abominations." He's also surrounded himself with a master class of guest guitarists, ranging from fellow ex-Megadeth ax-man Chris Poland to Jeff Loomis of Nevermore and Vinnie Moore of UFO.

Unfortunately, the fusion of jazz and metal isn't quite seamless. The aforementioned "Frozen Dream" seems to never quite achieve the right balance between Drover's shredding and Jim Gilmour's much more jazz-oriented keyboard part. And, after starting with a metallic bang, "Filthy Habits" ends the album with a modern jazz whimper.

To Drover's credit, the original tunes on the disc are every bit as good as the covers, which range from Al DiMeola's "Egyptian Danza" to "Don't Let The World Pass You By" and "Mirage" by Jean-Luc Ponty. Of the covers, "Egyptian Danza" especially stands out, with an appealing Middle Eastern feel and the best groove the album has to offer.

That said, when the album mellows out on tracks like "Colors Of Infinity" and "Ascension," even the best soloing by Drover and Gilmour can't overcome the lack of well-defined hooks, despite the efforts of drummer Chris Sutherland and bassist Paul Yee to add backbone.

As a showcase for the technical skill possessed by Glen Drover, his band and guests, "Metalusion" works quite well. Unfortunately, the sometimes aimless jazz elements often overpower the metal melodies, creating songs that, while well-played, don't feel like they really go anywhere.

Highs: "Egyptian Danza," "Ground Zero" and "Filthy Habits"

Lows: "Ascension" and "Colors Of Infinity"

Bottom line: Technically excellent jazz-metal that sometimes suffers from a lack of memorable melodies.

Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls
2.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)