In 2012 guitarist virtuoso Jeff Loomis has released his newest solo album Plains of Oblivion. Jeff Loomis was once an intricate part of Nevermore, but back in 2011 he among Van Williams left Nevermore citing musical differences. With Plains of Oblivion it seems that Jeff Loomis has created a powerful album with the help of many known musicians guest staring in a majority of tracks on the album.
Guitarist solo albums are an interesting thing, some might recall Cacophony back in the late 80s, a project between guitarists Marty Friedman and Jason Becker, or Yngwie Malmsteen both who during the shred era released albums showing off their guitar prowess. Jeff Loomis’s Plains of Oblivion is one such guitarist solo album that is a bit different from the rest. In Plains of Oblivion there is a groove aspect largely in part to Jeff Loomis’s use of 7 string guitar. The notable artists that Jeff was able to get on his record staggering. Artists like Marty Friedman, Chris Poland, Ihsahn and Dirk Verbeuren have graced Plains of Oblivion giving it a powerful listen. The album starts off with Mercurial which beings with a mechanical sound going into a strong groove/thrash riff.
Then we get a blistering lead thanks in part to Jeff Loomis but also due to guest guitarist Marty Friedman. Jeff Loomis is more than some guitarist, in this album he has shown his prowess and his versatility. Songs like Escape Velocity and The Ultimatum really shows why Jeff Loomis is one of the best in the business with his blistering lead and his neo-classical style of guitar wizardry. Songs however like Tragedy and Harmony, and Surrender breaks away from the instrumental tone of the album opting for vocals from Christine Rhoads and former Emperor frontman Ihsahn. Being that it is a mostly instrumental album it is a bit strange that Jeff Loomis has chosen to add in vocals but on further listen of the album one can see that they do not dominate his guitar playing.
Jeff Loomis’s Plains of Oblivion upon many listens has this magic to it that will have many people giving praise to the album. The album sits comfortably in the middle between being a mediocre mess and being way too over the top, it has a good balance of everything and Jeff executes everything perfectly. Plains of Oblivion is a powerful listen with many twists and turn in the album that is sure to impress many fans.
2. The Ultimatum
3. Escape Velocity
4. Tragedy and Harmony
5. Requiem For The Living
6. Continuum Drift
8. Chosen Time
10. Sibylline Origin