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JEFF LOOMIS - ZERO ORDER PHASE (*NEW-GOLDMAX CD, 2023, Brutal Planet Records) Nevermore Guitarist Guitar Hero Classic

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JEFF LOOMIS - ZERO ORDER PHASE (*NEW-GOLDMAX CD, 2023, Brutal Planet Records) Nevermore guitarist!

  • Nevermore/Arch Enemy/Sanctuary guitarist
  • 100% Review Rating on Metal-Archives! (Scroll down to read it)
  • Every CD includes a Jeff Loomis Ltd Collector Card
  • 2008 Century Media release
  • Officially licensed
  • Remastered for vinyl by Bombworks Sound / Rob Colwell
  • Features guest musicians: Ron Jarzombek (Watchtower), Pat O'Brien (Cannibal Corpse), Jazz solo musician Michael Manring and Neil Kernon
  • Recorded with Grammy Award-winning producer/engineer Neil Kernon 

At 16 years of age, Loomis won a guitar competition in Wisconsin, and was auditioned to replace Jeff Young in Megadeth (he was not chosen due to his young age.)  Jeff ended up joining Sanctuary during the tour of the album The Mirror Black. Just after the tour, the band dismantled and he created Nevermore with ex-members Jim Sheppard and Warrel Dane.  This the 2008 solo album from one of the best guitar players in the metal world - Nevermore's Jeff Loomis! Loomis is arguably metal's very best guitarist and this album has all of his signature sounds. This instrumental album is different from most guitar-driven instrumental albums because the songs are not just a showcase of guitar virtuoso, as it showcases Loomis's excellent song-writing skills. Instead of a bunch of out of control solo's, listeners are treated to real songs that could very well been transformed into songs for the next Nevermore album. The lack of a singer does not take away from the music, it does however showcase an amazing guitarist at work.  Remastered and available on vinyl (color!) for the very first time!  Enjoy!  Collector's are treated to a 16-page deluxe booklet housed inside a jewel case, a beautiful GoldMax CD with a Jeff Loomis Ltd Collector Card, and it's all been remastered to perfection by Rob Colwell of Bombworks Sound!  

Shouting At A Funeral/Opulent Maelstrom/Jato Unit/Azure Haze/Cashmere Shiv/Race Against Disaster/Sacristy/Devil Theory/Miles Of Machines/Departure/Omega's Influence

There is really nothing I have to complain about here in "Zero Order Phase", Jeff Loomis's first solo album. Some might say all Jeff does is shred and fast arpeggios. Maybe so, but that's great! The music in which most of it is shredding and arpeggios is amazing and I love it. Amazing display of skill shown by Jeff in this album. Each piece caught my attention and I couldn't simply stop listening without listening to the whole thing. Despite that most of what he does is neo-classical playing and shredding, each song is different and stands out. This has to be one of my favorite metal solo albums.

As far as my knowledge goes, most of the soloing on "Zero Order Phase" was improvised. I think that's amazing. I remember in "Shouting Fire At A Funeral", Jeff starts out with some slower melodic stuff then builds up to fast playing off of that. I saw on a TAB of that piece, and each part where the guitar is soloing it is titled as 'improvisation 1' and improvisation 2' and so forth. Thinking of that, I myself came up with some ideas for my own improvisation on "Shouting Fire At A Funeral". I think writing the pieces like this might make it easier or even more fun for someone else to perform it.

The full skill and talent of Jeff Loomis is poured out in "Zero Order Phase". I saw on a list that had the NPS of various guitar players says Jeff Loomis sweep picks 18 notes per second in "Devil Theory". That is just as fast as Yngwie Malmsteen can alternate pick. Probably the peak/best part of this album has to be "Miles Of Machines". While "Shouting Fire At A Funeral" was my favorite piece on this album, "Miles Of Machines" is probably the best. The variations of patterns Jeff puts in there is something we don't hear often in music in general. Good luck deciphering that, pop music. Who says there can't be emotion/musicality in shredding?

In closing, While some people might say that all there is when he shreds is playing melodies and arpeggios and other techniques really fast. Well, yeah, and that's awesome. But more importantly, to those people, I urge you to go back and listen more to the music and each note in the techniques and tricks you might hear countless times in neo-classical playing instead of looking at them as just techniques everyone does, in the sense that each note matters and contributes to the piece as a piece of music rather than paying attention to the individual techniques. For example, B minor arpeggio swept across all 6 (or 7 in Jeff's case) strings, has been done countless times. But add that to a piece of music around other notes and it becomes part of the song. Hopefully that makes sense, but that's how I can best explain it.


More of a departure from his day job than Warrel Dane's recent solo outing, NEVERMORE guitarist Jeff Loomis has unleashed one goddamned fiery tribute to the instrumental shred lords that have inspired his playing since the SANCTUARY days. You see, back before the swarms of flannel-clad grunge-miesters descended down from (Seattle's) Mount Olympus and sucked the shred out of metal with their de-tuned power chords and heroin-handed anti-chops, guys like Jason Becker, Vinnie Moore, Yngwie Malmsteen, Marty Friedman and a handful of others reigned supreme. These men were masters of their instrument and to hear their electrically charged hands careen up and down the fret board was something to behold; and their boundless talent, something to be respected. While the fact that Loomis himself is a renowned Seattle-based musician might be coincidence (or is it???),it's no mystery that he's brought the credibility of shred back to the forefront of metal with "Zero Order Phase".

From the onset of "Zero Order Phase", there's an overwhelming feeling that you're listening to a hidden gem from the back catalogue of Shrapnel Records. A couple of the only differences between this disc and those of shredder yore would be Loomis' progressive-thrash minded attack and the fact that the years spent crafting NEVERMORE tunes has made the guitarist a songwriter first and soloist second. The latter is one quality that shines through not only on arrangements throughout the disc, but on the immediacy of the melodies that serve as guitar-born "vocal hooks" during the would-be choruses on "Shouting Fire At A Funeral" and "Sacristy". Culling the technical thrash aggression of his finer NEVERMORE moments, "Opulent Maelstrom" brings a solid dose of Jeff's signature metallic riffery, along with a healthy dose of exotic lead work. Metal's grand poobah of guitar insanity, Ron Jarzombek (WATCHTOWER, BLOTTED SCIENCE, SPASTIC INK) cuts heads with Loomis on the solo-fest "Jato Unit". The flurry of notes these two dish out at each other could easily see the title changed to "Flight Of The Dueling Bumblebees", or something as equally alluding to the advanced guitar lesson the song provides. A bit more melodious is the contribution of CANNIBAL CORPSE's Pat O'Brien on the Steve Vai-meets-death metal "Race Against Disaster". The not-so-metal (yet highly regarded jazz bassist) Michael Manring lends his virtuoso to the very metal "Cashmere Shiv". Almost DREAM THEATER-like in quality and essence, the track also features some fretless guitar work courtesy of producer Neil Kernon. Aside from these contributions, former NEVERMORE drummer Mark Arrington is the only other musician invited to Jeff's party. Not that he needs anymore help, as this really is a well-rounded and diverse effort despite the fact that its sole purpose is to showcase the man's incredible guitar skills.

Will Jeff Loomis and "Zero Order Phase" prove once and for all that shred is indeed not dead? Not single-handedly, as a new breed of axe-worshippers is emerging from their shells to help bring back the whiddley-whiddley attack. Whatever your personal take on instrumental guitar metal, or band members stepping out on their own to produce said music might be, don't mistake the attempt Jeff Loomis is making as a gimmick or novelty. In just under one hour, Loomis lays down more skill, melody and metal than a bus full of his peers have done in their combined careers. All hail the new guitar god.