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Jake Dreyer - "In the Shadows of Madness" (CD/EP)

Jake Dreyer - "In the Shadows of Madness" CD/EP cover image

"In the Shadows of Madness" track listing:

1. Beyond the Tranquil Descent
2. Harmony of the Spheres
3. Drawing of the Three

Reviewed by on July 26, 2011

"...Dreyer is ready to become the latest American guitar protégé with his first solo-dubbed album 'In the Shadows of Madness.'"

Guitar protégé Jake Dreyer has been under the tutelage of such shredders as Chris Broderick (Megadeth, ex-Nevermore) and David Shankle (ex-Manowar, DSG). After thousands of hours perfecting technique, winning awards and releasing critically acclaimed albums through DeadRingers Guild, Dreyer is ready to become the latest American guitar protégé with his first solo-dubbed album “In the Shadows of Madness.”

The three-song-instrumental EP is only an appetizer of Dreyer’s goods, but oh is it tasty. Dreyer puts on a clinic, showing marvelous fretwork dexterity. Although the album offers less than twenty minutes of music, Dreyer manipulates the airwaves to convey a variety of emotions. “Beyond the Tranquil Descent” showcases rich melody, while “Harmony of the Spheres” rumbles with the force of an Amon Amarth Viking charge.

Much of the guitar play recalls Arch Enemy’s dynamic guitar duo, the Amott brothers (check out the twinkling notes around the 3:43 mark). While this track and the next (“Drawing of the Three”) are fueled by blistering tempos, Dreyer and cast make time for melodious solos and stop-start progressions. Dreyer incorporates layers of guitar sound, including acoustic-toned backdrops for his soaring solos. He even provides touches of world music, playing Flamenco-style near the 3:50 mark of “Drawing of the Three.”

Instrumental albums are hit and miss, especially ones that lack variation. Although Jake Dreyer could spend a whole album soloing or just playing riffs, he keeps “In the Shadow of Madness” moving from idea to idea. Drummer Adam Sagan (ex-Into Eternity) and bassist Noah Martin (Arsis) closely follow his lead, especially maintaining this tightness during bass and drum tandems. Lead guitarists and fans of melo-death can’t go wrong with “In the Shadow of Madness.” In the not-so-distant future, expect to see Dreyer blowing the minds of an arena audience.

Highs: Fantastic guitar playing

Lows: Short album, instrumental

Bottom line: Lead guitarists and fans of melo-death can’t go wrong with “In the Shadow of Madness.”

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 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)