GUS G. – “Quantum Leap”
By Colonel Angus
The metal guitar shredder genre has been getting an influx of great releases as of late. Vinnie Moore, Nita Strauss, and John Petrucci all have released great solo records in a past few years. With touring being almost non-existent for a good part of 2020, this Covid-19 pandemic has given some of these musicians time to come up with new material. GUS G. has been on my radar due to his work with FIREWIND, OZZY, and his last solo release “Fearless” and to be quite honest, I listen to FIREWIND solely for the guitar work. While “Fearless” has vocals, “Quantum Leap” is strictly instrumental (except for the bonus 2nd disk with has some great live tracks) but still feels like a disk full of songs and not just a shred-fest to make other guitarist jealous. That is what always drew me to his playing; his ability to solo within a song and not take it over. That is a rare talent that is missing from other guitar slingers.
After listening to “Quantum Leap” over 20 times, I can guarantee that even fans who are not really into guitar instrumental records will enjoy this disk. For those of you looking for some great shredding, you will be rewarded with the title track, “Judgement Day”, “Fierce” and “Force Majeure” with the latter featuring additional guitar work from Vinnie Moore. Even though I would list these as tracks with an abundance of solos, there is still this underlying song structure to them that will make a non-muso like me enjoy them to the point of humming the melodies for days afterwards. There are spots where the cuts remind of Joe Satriani like opener “Into the Unknown” which has a “Summer Song” feel and “Chronesthesia” but neither comes close to rip-off territory. Where I find the record most completing is with the slightly slower material like “Enigma of Life” and “Not Forgotten”. Those tracks capture some of the best emotional guitar work on “Quantum Leap”. Even though my mood changes from day to day and my favorites of this album do the same, it is a great release from start to finish and doesn’t contain any fillers.
The bonus disk is 7 songs preformed live which is where GUS G. shines. Sure his studio work is fantastic but he somehow manages to squeeze out an extra edge to his tunes when preforming in front of a crowd. My favorite from this disk is “Thrill of the Chase” but his version of the THIN LIZZY classic “Cold Sweat” is great too. While no one can replicate the John Sykes sound, GUS G. does a great job of putting in his own touches but still staying true to the original. The main part of “Quantum Leap” is worth it on its own but this second disk puts it over the top. I’m not the biggest fan of guitar instrumental records but this one is full of great songs with phenomenal guitar work from Mr GUSG. While this pandemic really took a toll on the music industry, “Quantum Leap” is a clear example of how you can turn a negative into a positive.