GUS G. (Ozzy Osbourne) – I Am The Fire (2014)
Guitarist GUS G. has spent the better part of the last decade solidifying his place as one of metal’s reigning guitar virtuosos. He’s recorded more than a dozen studio albums and performed around the world as a member of Arch Enemy, Dream Evil and Firewind, and let’s not forget he was handpicked by Ozzy Osbourne in 2009 to become his new guitarist.
But GUS G.’s debut solo album, “I Am The Fire”, which will be released March 18, is a new adventure. The record mixed by Jay Ruston (Anthrax, Steel Panther), gives Gus the opportunity to explore a different side of his creativity and showcases his skills as a producer and songwriter.
Apart from the two signature Gus G. instrumentals (“Vengeance” and “Terrified”), “I Am The Fire” veers away from the traditional heavy metal vibe and leans more toward a straight-ahead classic Melodic Hard Rock sound.
The CD also features a multitude of top class musicians, including monster singers Mats Levén and Jeff Scott Soto, and bassists Billy Sheehan and David Ellefson.
“I Am The Fire” is not a ‘guitar man album’, it’s focused on songs and goes the proverbial guest vocalist route, the most notable being Levén of former Yngwie Malmsteen fame. Mats is a tried-and-true melodic metal singer owning one of the best voices in the business, which is why straight-rock cuts like “My Will Be Done” and the fun “Blame It On Me” emerge as the album’s early high points.
The title track (with vocals from Blake Alison of Devour The Day) along with “Break Away” (featuring Alexa Rodriguez of Eyes Set To Kill) provide the modernized balance to the records, which for the most part waters classy sounds inspired in the late Eighties and specially the early Nineties.
Take as example “Summer Days”, co-written and performed by the mighty Jeff Scott Soto: I can’t help, but everything touched by his magical pipes seems to turn into pure gold. This awesome track worth the disc alone.
Then we have a surprisingly melodic performance of Evergrey’s Tom Englund on “Dreamkeeper”, a groovy radio friendly ballad wich offers more than enough to give this record the scene cred stamp of approval.
Alexia Rodriguez (Eyes Set To Kill) brings what sounds like a healthy admiration for old Queensryche to “Long Way Down”, while Steel Panther’s Michael Starr steps up for “Redemption “, and he gets it – the man fits perfect with hard rocking nature of the song. This track kicks serious ass, and I can’t see anyone not loving it.
The instrumental “Vengeance” is closer to Gus’ normal fare, and he sounds more at home weaving his melodic shredding throughout, as Dave Ellefson brings some tasty bass to the track. If you want to know what Gus G.’s playing is like, this is it. A fabulous player.
“Terrified is the other cut without vowels featuring the always wonderful Billy Sheehan, and listening to them riff together is pure bliss. This is Gus at his best again, and he’s on point – this is what I want to hear from the guy, classy playing and a raging band.
Mats Levén returns for the closing “End Of The Line”, and it’s a strong ending in the ballad form, but the gutsy one. Mats sounds like he actually connects with the lyrical content, and he’s flies over Gus’ orchestration mixing acoustic with electrics.
GUS G.’s “I Am The Fire” is a terrific album plenty of great songs, awesome vocalists and excellent playing.
The record showcases a well-balanced mix of classic Melodic Hard Rock, modern Hard Rock and guitar-driven instrumentals, taking listeners on a diverse journey and opening doors to Gus G.’s soulful playing.
He proves to be a talented songwriter / arranger as well, and behind the production desk is second to none, as everything sounds crisp and punchy.
01. My Will Be Done (feat. Mats Levén)
02. Blame It On Me (feat. Mats Levén)
03. I Am The Fire (feat. Devour The Day)
04. Vengeance (feat. David Ellefson)
05. Long Way Down (feat. Alexia Rodriguez)
06. Just Can’t Let Go (feat. Jacob Bunton)
07. Terrified (feat. Billy Sheehan)
08. Eyes Wide Open (feat. Mats Levén)
09. Redemption (feat. Michael Starr)
10. Summer Days (feat. Jeff Scott Soto)
11. Dreamkeeper (feat. Tom S. Englund)
12. End Of The Line (feat. Mats Levén)
Gus G. – all guitars, bass and keyboards
Devid Ellefson [Megadeth] – bass
Billy Sheehan [Mr. Big, David Lee Roth] – bass
Mary O’Brien [Tommy Lee, We Are The Fallen] – bass
Jeff Friedl [A Perfect Circle, Devo] – drums
Daniel Erlandsson [Arch Enemy] – drums
Mats Levén [ex Yngwie, Treat] – vocals
Blake Allison [Devour The Day] – vocals
Michael Starr [Steel Panther] – vocals
Alexia Rodriguez [Eyes Set To Kill] – vocals
Tom S. Englund [Evergrey] – vocals
Jacob Bunton [Adler] – vocals
Jeff Scott Soto [W.E.T., Talisman] – vocals