Gus G – “Fearless” (AFM Records)
Well, I guess you’d have to be fearless to be in Ozzy Osbourne’s band for the best part of 6 years! Brought in to replace Zakk Wylde, Gus G recorded 2010’s “Scream” with Ozzy before returning to his own well known band, Firewind. Well clearly there’s still a bit of the double O left in him as you might expect from a legendary persona like Osbourne, and so he’s done the right thing here by releasing a solo record, as distinct from another power / heavy metal Firewind opus. Recruiting vocalist/bassist Dennis Ward (Pink Cream 69/Unisonic) and drummer Will Hunt (Evanescence, Black Label Society), “Fearless” is a broad range of rockers, ballads and instrumentals taking in the full classic, hard rock and heavy metal spectrum, which this top notch power trio are more than able to handle! Propelled by hard hitting drums, deep hewn bass and soulful vocals, Gus G excels in the dexterity of his guitar work, able to deliver the aggression on the double bass drum propelled opener ‘Letting Go’, where Ward does an excellent Ozzy vocal repo on a track that really mixes calm and furore together in one superb package. Softening the mood on the 80s style ballad ‘Nothing To Say’, Ward’s heart taken vocals are beautifully complemented by Gus G’s acoustic and light electric work, not to mention his virtuoso solo taking on very emotional proportions indeed. Throwing in a monster Zakk Wylde stadium rocker version of Dire Straits ‘Money For Nothing’, ‘Chances’ showed a modern, melodic hard rock side with plenty of fluid guitar work. However, ‘Thrill Of The Chase’ showed where Gus G’s roots are with classic Scorpions inherent in the guitar before going full axeman Michael Schenker style with plenty of fret board shredding but equally lots of deep melodies indicating an Ulrich Roth touch – an awesome instrumental! Definitely a great way to expend his last double O traces, “Fearless” also broadly showcases the wider talents of Gus G, and if you like his more fiery work, then I urge you to stick around for the next Firewind release!