"Chasing the Sun" (Grooveyard Records; 2000)
Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter
Chris Poland, trading his thrash/jazz mélange for a broader spectrum of musical moods, makes "Chasing The Sun" a delectable treat for guitar fanatics everywhere. From metallic riffs, to jazz, to blues, to his trademark melodic style Poland struts his stuff with confidence, yet not with too much swagger as to seem pompous.
Nearly every song is about three minutes in length and each track displays Poland's sense of economy. Poland's musical ideas are expressive and pointed. Of course, timing can be everything, too, and the songs showcase Poland's ability to hit the right notes at the right time - everything is concise and filled with purpose.
Personally, I feel like I've hit the lottery - I get to hear a great guitarist play his heart out on a variety of tracks that are as satisfying as they are challenging. My interpretation of these instrumentals is that the songs are about different versions of utopia; the utopia of youth ("Alphabet City"), the utopia of the familiar ("Wendell's Place"), the utopia of good memories ("Song For Paul"), and the utopia of combining the best of the new with the best of the old ("Hip Hop Karma").
The best tracks here are the urgent title track, the upbeat "Robo Stomp", and the Latin influenced "Salvador." Other highlights include the fluid sweetness of "Lu Lu's Dream" and the frantic "Cosmo's Thumb."
A bonus track of a live rendition of "Alexandria," which originally appeared on his debut solo disc back in 1988, is delivered by his current band Ohm. This uncluttered version shows off the angular lines of the melody now that the rhythm track is no longer in the way; the track also highlights Poland's grasp of the interconnectedness of rhythm to melody.
"Chasing The Sun" is a very solid and respectable effort from one of the most underrated and unheralded guitarists of our time.
Chris Poland plays all the guitars. Francis DiCosmo plays bass on eight of the thirteen tracks while Robertino Pagliari plays bass on two tracks. Mark Poland plays drums on eight tracks, Mac Hine plays drums on two tracks, and David Eagle plays drums on one track.
For more information, check out http://www.chrispoland.com
"Return to Metalopolis" (Fuel 2000 Records; 1998)
Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter
Back in 1988 Chris Poland, formerly of Megadeth, graced the world with his solo album "Return To Metalopolis." Luckily, for those who might have missed him the first time around, Fuel 2000 Records has re-released the disc with an added track.
The disc is weighed down a bit by the typical "chunka-chunka" rhythms that characterize 80s metal, yet Chris Poland literally makes each song a unique voyage with his jazz-like lead lines that never bore. Most of the time Poland's lead lines soar above the mix, but occasionally his lead guitar work is lost under a barrage of rhythm guitars.
"Club Ded" combines the best of the '80s rhythms with the jazz-like guitars over top, "The Fall Of Babylon" uses arpeggios and dramatic staccato guitars to form and starting point for Poland's subtle, sustained melodies. "Khazad Dum" closes out the disc with Middle Eastern-flavored arpeggios and tasteful use of pauses and stops to tie the frenetic rhythm guitars with the sweet melody lines. The added track on this re-release, "Heinous Interruptus" is neither bad nor good, just more of the same that this disc has to offer.
Chris Poland played the guitars and bass on this record and was ably assisted by his brother Mark Poland on the drums. Randy Burns and Chris Poland produced the disc with various individuals helping out with engineering and mixing.
For more information on Chris Poland's recent activities check out http://www.chrispoland.com.
A classic. This record will kick your ass.
Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.
So-so. You've heard better.
Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.
Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.
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