"Chrome" (Leg Burn Licks; 2002)
Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter
I am the designated Rough Edge reviewer for instrumental guitar albums or, at the very least, it seems that way. Not that I mind or anything – I love the guitar both as an instrument and its critical role in hard rock and heavy metal. As such I cherish every opportunity to hear guitarists display their musical skills and talents in the instrumental format whereas others might just turn their heads and move on the next Marilyn Manson disc. (Editor's note: Mr. Kelter is indeed our unofficial instrumental guitar album reviewer. His expertise in the genre is unmatched here and his thorough review style is the best I've seen when it comes to describing and critiquing instrumental rock.)
Since this is the first I've heard of Randy Pevler I thought I'd include a little history for the sake of perspective. Pevler's prior stints as a guitarist include time with Southern California-based bands The Rabble, Divine Rite, and Nomad Railway -- all of these bands featured melodic hard rock as their common thread. Pevler's solo career takes that same melodic hard rock format into the exciting, but generally poorly received, instrumental territory. "Chrome" is the third solo disc from Pevler following the "Back When I Was Sane" and "Inside Looking Out" efforts. Samples of Pevler’s work from his first two discs have been licensed to shows appearing on the Sci-Fi channel and MTV.
"Chrome" is chock full of high-energy rockers -- however, a few ballads and atmospheric-type numbers prevent the disc from becoming a one-dimensional affair. Many of the tunes have thick rhythm guitar riffs not unlike Vinnie Moore's unheralded album "Meltdown." At the same time I hear a lot of a Satriani-esque 'surfing' quality to the melodies and solos without being derivative. At times I do hear little bits of songs or melodies that are reminiscent of Malmsteen, Vai, MacAlpine and other guitar gods -- but I think those are my own reference points rather than anything Pevler tried to do.
The best part about "Chrome" is that Pevler's rhythms are muscular and his solos are sinewy yet strong. And to top it all off each song is fully realized piece of work -- the rhythms and arrangements are not of the cookie cutter variety while the melodies and solos simply leap out of the speakers into your consciousness. However, the songs aren't instantaneously memorable either -- it takes some effort to glean all that these thirteen tracks have to offer.
Often it is readily apparent that it is difficult for guitar instrumentalists to come up with an album's worth of different sounds on each track -- Pevler has no such trouble on "Chrome." This is not to imply that Pevler's sound is as diversified as Joboj or as whacked out as Vai, but it should make clear that Pevler infuses each song with its own personality and character.
Although "Chrome" is the only album of Pevler's musical output I've heard, it is obvious that he is musician of the highest order. I can heartily recommend Pevler's "Chrome" to a wide variety of fans of the shred genre as well as those that like to hear musical confidence personified as well-thought out rocking songs with guts.
"Chrome" was produced by Randy Pevler. Fortunately Pevler's production skills are more than adequate and his sound and tone shine brightly on "Chrome." Additionally (I was slow to realize this) but I was already familiar with Pevler's work in the studio as he mastered OHM's self-titled debut.
Randy Pevler was joined by James LoMenzo (White Lion, Pride & Glory) on bass and Donny Sarian (Big Franklin) on drums.
For more information visit http://www.randsong.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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Revised: 13 Mar 2016 11:33:51 -0500.