One of the reasons you get into the metals is for the incredible guitar, right? Well, that's one of my reasons anyway. A big part of what got me into metal in my earlier years was listening to various guitarists putting out their stuff in the 90s (and thank you, Mike Varney) So, I'm always down with a good guitar-based album to jam to while I take care of whatever I gotta take care of during my day. It just makes the menial things of the day easier to tolerate.
So, here we are with one Patrick Hemer, guitarist extrodinaire. I mused recently about who is in the new guard of master studio musicians, and apparently, Patrick is one of those guys. What is it about session guitarists that seem to end up as lead singer and guitarist for their own awesome metal bands? Like Dan Huff and Michael Thompson before him, Patrick Hemer has released his own CD, More Than Meets The Eye, and the simple fact is this is a great guitar album. Hemer's gots chops for days, and it's good to say that he displays them tastefully within the context of well-written, meat and potatoes metal (as Rags would say), with glorious nods to the progressive and power metal stylings of bands like Symphony X or Malmsteen. With the majority of the album's tracks going over the five minute mark, you get a healthy dose of Patrick's 7-string fretboard wizardry (beautiful overdriven tone, by the way), including some Bettencourtesque riffage on Edge of Insanity (3:30) and Legend In Your Own Mind, some killer harmonized runs on the intro to For All Eternity (0:14) and Firelight, the grand scale (a la Blue Murder's Valley of the Kings) of Panem Et Circenses - the list goes on for the ingredients of a satisfying metal meal. Holy shit, this album kicks ass, with some very respectable vocals from Patrick and a great rhythm section in Tom Wagner (drums) and David Casanova (keyboards). Crank this one up.
The Bottom Line: I don't know what's in the water over at Studio Musician University, but more people need to go there and put out albums like this one. Patrick Hemer has been a well-kept guitar secret for far too long. All I can say is MORE, MORE, MORE!
Tracks That Make You Look At Your Neglected Guitar Shamefully: Firelight and Terra Incognita (the two instrumentals on this CD are fucking awesome) - and the entire rest of the album.
- Genghis had everybody looking funny at him while air guitaring to Firelight like a man possessed...