CD Reviews > Gus G

Gus G - I Am The Fire

Century Media

Guitar virtuoso Gus G – best known for his work with Firewind, Ozzy Osbourne’s band, Arch Enemy, and Dream Evil – has just released his first-ever solo album: “I Am The Fire” (Century Media). Although this is a bit different than some of his heavier endeavors, the album is indeed imbued with a fiery passion throughout, and is chock-full of guest appearances. Gus’ phenomenal fretwork has always been impressive, and he really gets a chance to strut his stuff on this fantastic album.

Check out the video for the song “My Will Be Done”.

“People have been asking me for a solo record for years now, but I didn’t want an album that sounded like something people have heard from me before,” Gus G. explains. “Apart from a few instrumentals, this album isn’t traditional Heavy Metal or Power Metal. It’s got more of a Classic Rock vibe. It’s stuff that wouldn’t fit on a Firewind record, and I didn’t want to push that band in this direction. I consider myself a songwriter as well as a guitar player, and this album allowed me to experiment and explore that different side of me.

“The main difference in this recording and album experience is that there was no band, nobody to check with or please, and nobody to consult with. It was just me doing anything I wanted and playing with a lot of my favorite musicians, friends, and people I admired. When you’ve been in bands forever, it’s liberating to be able to do whatever you want without worrying about living up to the standards of a back catalog. It’s a fresh start, and in a lot of ways it’s more relaxing - it’s like starting from scratch.”

Gus G. produced the album, performed all of the keyboards, and shared bass duties with Marty O’Brien (Disturbed, Tommy Lee). Jeff Friedl (A Perfect Circle, Puscifer, Devo) kicks the skins behind most tracks, except the two instrumental tracks where Arch Enemy’s Daniel Erlandsson guests on drum duties.

On this album, Gus goes back to Hard Rock & Metal’s vintage roots, but updating them to today’s standards, making this album a timeless one to last for ages! He’s joined by a plethora of guests, including Mats Leven (Yngwie Malmsteen, Therion, & current Candlemas), Blake Allison (Devour the Day), Dave Ellefson (Megadeth), Alexia Rodriguez, Jacob Bunton (Adler frontman), Billy Sheehan (David Lee Roth, Mr. Big), Michael Starr (Steel Panther), Jeff Scott Soto, and Tom S. Englund (Evergrey, Journey, Trans Siberian Orchestra).

The extremely catchy “My Will Be Done” (featuring Mats Leven) defiantly takes control & responsibility of one’s own life. The fantastic “Blame It On Me” (also featuring Mats Leven) has some of the most impressive musicianship on the album – and that’s saying something! The “I Am The Fire” title track (featuring Blake Allison) truly is a raging inferno. “Vengeance” (featuring Dave Ellefson) is a razor-sharp instrumental.

“Long Way Down” (featuring Alexia Rodriguez) is not my favorite by any stretch of the imagination – it’s a tad too “Pop” for my taste – reminiscent of Evanescense. “I Just Can’t Let Go” (featuring Jacob Bunton) is a flashback to ‘80’s Power Ballads, reminding me of Dokken.” “Terrified” (featuring Billy Sheehan) is emotionally scathing! “Eyes Wide Open” (featuring Mats Levin) indeed transports us back in time with the full glory of ‘80’s Stadium Metal! Love it!

The fretwork seriously shines in “Redemption” (featuring ¬Michael Starr)! “Summer Days” (featuring Jeff Scott Soto) is an awesome ethereal experience! “Dreamkeeper” (featuring Tom S. Englund) indeed transports us to a trance-like dreamstate. “End of the Line” (featuring Mats Levin) reminds me a bit of classic Warrant – a chilling power ballad in the vein of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”.

This album seriously belongs in the cd libraries of all Metal lovers, and those listeners who appreciate serious guitar artistry! The Crowgrrl highly recommends it (with the exception of the one song “Long Way Down”).

~Athena Schaffer