© 2003 Universal Music
Rusty Cooley-Rusty Cooley
              © 2002 Lion Music
One of the more modern acts that is really making a statement is without a doubt Godsmack. The band had a decent first release, but really found a more solid foundation with the followup 'Awake'. With the bands latest release, they continue what was started on 'Awake' but also build and progress with that style. Also on the album is new drummer Shannon Larkin who I have been a big fan of since the Wrathchild America days. Larkin is a serious bundle of energy and really adds to the mix on the album. After spinning this album it was decision time. Did I like this effort or 'Awake' better. I feel with the progression in style from the previous, I do like 'Faceless' better. The band have made an album to please metal fans old and new. The music on this release as mentioned before is definitely closer to the second release. There are some really energetic numbers here such as the opener 'Straight out of line', 'Faceless', and one of my favorites 'Release the Demons' which reminds me a lot of 'Awake' from the previous release. Consistently, the album is heavy.  There is a slower track that closes the album that is quite cool called 'Serenity' which has some great background orchestration which really injects atmosphere. This album really is solid and definitely shows this band is a definite contender.

Definitely one of the better domestic metal releases so far this year. The band has put together a consistent album and are showing that great chemistry that allows a band to develop a longer term career. It's also nice to see Shannon Larkin in the fold. I have always enjoyed the previous bands he has worked with and think he's a great fit in the vacancy left by Tommy Stewart. Very good release that grabs the torch of metal and runs with it. Recommended!
After listening to the self titled release from American shredder Rusty Cooley, there is no doubts at all about his ability. After all, this brilliant guitarist has won awards for his abilities including the Houston based 'Guitar master series' as well as being asked to host the local access cable show called 'World class guitar techniques' for 3 episodes. Cooley is a very technical and skilled guitarist that reminds me a bit of Malmsteen at times, but also a bit like Michael Angelo with his blistering fretwork. The album consists of 10 instrumentals and 2 bonus tracks that are vocal versions of the instrumentals 'Dominion' and 'The Butcher'. (Vocal version of 'The Butcher is actually called 'The Machine') The album would definitely be classified in the 'noodling' category, but has some pretty cool songwriting such as 'Hillbilly Militia', 'Jazzmine's Song', 'The Duel', and 'Dark Matter'. Where some people may object to listening to an album where the fretboard is just smoked, this album offers more in the way of the great overall sound of the project. Also, those vocal numbers are a nice addition to the album adding a bit of a different feel to each of the two songs. Just imagine the potential Cooley has in a total rock band project. That would be cool indeed.

It gets pretty hard these days to stand out on your own as a guitar hero. There are a lot of decent guitarists on the market, but Cooley does stand out. When you hear some of his techniques and solos it will make your jaw drop. Good songwriting and relentless attack on the fretboard make this a very cool listen. Keep an eye out for this artist.