Gus G – Fearless (AFM Records)

Friday, 20th April 2018
Rating: 8.5/10

Third albums for any artist can define direction to the good (or bad). Axe maven Gus G already has established a foothold on the scene through his main work in melodic power metal act Firewind – but he would be the first to admit that his solo output has been very scattered in terms of song to song recognition for style. Fearless solidifies a specific outlook – probably due to the established talent on the musician front as well as through the songwriting and production consistency.

Instead of peppering the record with various vocalists or rhythm section players, these ten songs stick to a power trio format – vocalist/bassist Dennis Ward already familiar to most for his production work or playing in Pink Cream 69, and drummer Will Hunt a known entity through his percussion expertise with Evanescence. Because of this, the material takes on a balance between his already well-known power riffing and double bass-oriented approach for “Letting Go” or “Don’t Tread on Me”, and the modern hard rock catchiness that appears on “Chances” or “Mr. Manson” (the latter having a bit of that Ozzy-swing possibly as a nod to Gus’ time with Mr. Osbourne). Dennis’ bluesy register has all the right AOR-ish touches when called for, showing tender restraint during the verses for the semi-power ballad “Nothing to Say”, while being a little larger than life during the Ratt-like “Way Cool Jr.” aspects for “Big City”.

Gus G as a guitarist also features three instrumentals into the mix of vocal-oriented songs – the title cut throwing around different progressive arpeggio runs while still developing a very catchy mainframe circular riff and “Thrill of The Chase” keeping things more in an 80’s Dokken lineage. The bolder risk of tackling an 80’s iconic song like “Money for Nothing” from Dire Straits and reinterpreting it through “Danger Zone”-like keyboard work, and slower, heavier main riffs actually does the track justice, because they kept the essence of the vocal melodies to transpose the song to Gus G.’s melodic metal/hard rock expectations. The thoughtful idea of composing these tracks into a tight, focused trio makes Fearless the strongest Gus G solo effort to date – one that will be easily appealing to all melodic metal fans.

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