Review Summary: Paul's second full-instrumental album is a little all over the place at times but still pretty enjoyable for a shred album.
In terms of contemporary guitarists, Paul Gilbert is a name that should be known to most rock/metal guitarists. He was part of the 80's shred movement while in Racer X
alongside Bruce Bouillet and was acknowledged as one of the fastest shredders of the time. In 1988 he formed the chart topping band Mr. Big
with Billy Sheehan. He decided to pursue a solo career in the late 90's, as had most big shredders had already done by then. Aside from releasing solo albums since 1998, he joined John Petrucci
and Joe Satriani
for the 2007 G3 tour. Influences of all these things are apparent in his latest work, Silence Followed By A Deafening Roar.
This album goes through most of the typical "styles" of instrumental rock ranging from the straight-metal shred run of The Gargoyle over the mystical mountains of shred to the soft, melodic passages in I Cannot Tell A Lie. You get your funk-inspired Bronx 1971 and Bultaco Saturno as well as your hard-rock rocker Norwegian Cowbell. The percussion-less, classically inspired Suite Modale acts as an interlude to the second half of the album, although the second set of seconds, aside from The Gargoyle, are slightly underwhelming compared to the first half of the album.
Paul keeps it dynamic through most of the songs, switching between melodies and riffing while keeping up the pace. None of the songs are over five minutes long, some what of a feat in terms of instrumental albums. Paul is very technical and his technique is dead-on-spot, even to the point where it sounds almost mechanical. This tends to become a problem after about a minute of shredding within any track, but he switches it up as it begins to get stale.
(Start: Guitar Poo-Poo) Some brilliant tapping work can be found in the first and second tracks that sound almost synth-like. I'll mention that there are no keyboards found on this album. It pushes it away from that cliche sweeping arpeggios over keyboard chords shred sound. You will also find that there is little (or none) sweeping on this album. Paul stated in an interview that he really dislikes the sound and look of sweeping, though his string-skipping technique is aurally akin to sweeping. (End: Guitar Poo-Poo)
Several tracks on this album sound heavily influenced by Paul's experience with G3. The title track, The Rhino, and Paul Vs. Godzilla have passages which ring tones of Satriani, Petrucci, and even Steve Vai. Sadly, these passages which try to defer from Paul's mechanical sound just come off as cliche and don't have much impact at all.
The track Eudaimonia Overture is probably the best track on the album. It is pretty rigid technically but the progressions in the song are very catchy and have a great feeling to them. The song doesn't have alot of shred-soloing but has several tapping passages which are fun to listen to. Norwegian Cowbell (which actually contains a cowbell in the percussion) is a fun listen as well. The title track has a nice 90's feel to it though it becomes a little stale from repetition.
Overall this one of my favorite albums to play in the background as it has a good pacing, a nice positive overtone (compared to "neoclassical" contemporaries), as well as nice riffs and melodies. Definitely worth picking up if your into instrumental rock.