Jeff Loomis – Zero Order Phase – Review

jeffloomis200Jeff Loomis

Zero Order Phase (Century Media)
By Martin Popoff

Look around and it’s surprising how few of these guitar shred instrumental albums rock this hard. Jeff Loomis is, of course, (aging) boy wonder for Nevermore, and on Zero Order Phase, he lets rip with riffs that are likely just too complex and extreme to serve as vehicles for Warrel’s words. There’s an interesting (very heavy) Megadeth vibe to Jeff’s snarling, attacking style and the molten tones with which Neil Kernon nourishes that style. Even when slowing it down, Loomis is amusingly doomy and dripping with poisonous liquid metal. “Azure Haze” and “Cashmere Shiv” are as exotic and darkly imbued with extreme metal electricity as the heart-racing numbers are – you forget they’re essentially ballads (and you can forget that fretless solo – it sounds shoe-horned in here just because). More than helping out is raging drum hurricane (there’s only one tornado) Mark Arrington, who almost shares the album, as well as Ron Jarzombek, Michael Manring, and Pat O’Brien, who cameo. Fusing prog with bulbous heaviness yet not sounding like Opeth, this is a fine work, which manages to be both smart and extremely heavy, also filing a bit of a gap in this genre, which usually finds guys often trying to write songs without vocals. I mean, I often prefer those, and would naturally play them more often than I would something like this, but for a lesson in the future of heavy metal guitar, Loomis is yer lecturer.