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Andy James - "Kaos 7" (CD/EP)

Andy James - "Kaos 7" CD/EP cover image

"Kaos 7" track listing:

1. Collision Course
2. Black Hole
3. Phase 4
4. Sphere

Reviewed by on August 12, 2009

"Andy James is definitely a talent to watch out for, both on his own and with his band, Sacred Mother Tongue."

I don't know why, but it reassures me that while Joe Satriani is blasting out blues riffs with Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony in Chickenfoot, one of his disciples is holding the torch high for a more meandering form of guitar godhood.

British rocker Andy James says, "From the first time I heard 'Surfing With The Alien' I knew I wanted to shred." James' new EP, "Kaos 7," is more of a "quick paddle out with the alien," both in terms of length and quality — but that's more than most (including Satriani disciples like Steve Vai) usually manage.

The disc's opener, "Collision Course," has a pure Satriani feel, especially during the quieter opening. James does get a chance to shred, and he's quite good at it, as well as providing a good sense of melody. What he's not so good at is knowing when a song has gone on long enough. "Collision Course" is a full three minutes too long, if you ask me.

"Black Hole" has more of a pure metal feel to it, with a grinding riff that holds equal prominence with the blistering, more bluesy solos. This is probably my favorite track on the disc, though some jangling keyboard sounds grow a little old after a while.

I like the way James creates a bridge between shredding and melody on "Phase 4," which has a neat high-note melody that shows up throughout the song. It definitely makes it seem more like a coherent song than just an excuse for noodling.

"Sphere" starts out as a full-on rock assault that paradoxically slows down when the solo kicks in. It's a great solo, but I wanted more of the rough riff that starts the song. It does reappear, along with an almost thrashy section near the end, but there's also a lot of weaker stuff.

I can't quibble about the production. The guitars are obviously the star here, but there's plenty of space for the drums, keyboard and bass. Some of the songs go on a bit long for me, but that might not be a problem for fans that can't get enough shredding.

Andy James is definitely a talent to watch out for, both on his own and with his band, Sacred Mother Tongue. "Kaos 7" features superb playing and production. So what if the songs drag on a bit? If you were as good a shredder as James, you'd want to show off too.

Highs: The bruising riff that starts "Sphere," the pure metal feel of "Black Hole."

Lows: Several of the songs go on a bit too long.

Bottom line: Great playing and production, but some songs overstay their welcome.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

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)