It has been an interesting 18 months or so for solo musicians and duo collaboration projects with a multi instrumentalist and a vocalist pairing up to release and album or EP. As a Guitarist, self taught from age 17, Leo Viridi has chosen to get a group of guests on board to help him complete his debut solo album, rather than having a backing band as such. He plays rhythm guitar and bass on the album while playing leads on 5 songs. Former Megadeth drummer, now in Act of Defiance, Shawn Drover is on the Drum stool throughout, while Dissention Rising Vocalist Danni Carroll and Guitarist appear on the majority of the rest of the album. How much of that is down to Leo Viridi’s love of their band, you’d have to ask the main man!
Starting with “Something to Prove” has a bass heavy mix with a Hard Rock meets Metal vibe as Danni Carroll’s clean vocals are straight out of the 70 or 80s scenes for female vocalists bringing to mind something like Lita Ford or even Heart but with a modernised production and some hints at early 2000’s Megadeth on the musical front. The melloncholic overtones of “April Showers” are accompanied by some clean guitar tones that have a melodic grunge vibe to them, albeit with a metronomic drum pattern keeping the pacing higher than it might otherwise naturally be. It’s an interesting choice as the second cut on the album and would perhaps be better suited as a closer. Glen Drover (ex-Megadeth, KingDiamond) provides some lifting lead parts while Danni Carroll sounds like Amy Lee of Evanescence in the achingly beautiful vocal delivery. “Disillusioned” sees a guest change with Derek Sherinian (ex-Dream Theater, Sons of Apollo) adding Keyboards to a nearly 4 minute instrumental of Classical Metal with some Progressive leanings. It’s a virtuoso solo laiden performance from Leo Viridi himself that gallops along at pace and showcases his talents. It begs the question as to why he doesn’t play more leads on the album himself! “Blood of Warriors” sees Henning Basse of Firewind pick up the microphone for a more Metal cut with some Thrash riffs for good measure that brings to mind classic Anthrax. It would be good to get more of this collaboration on future material.
“From The Inside” is a re-recorded and re-worked cover of a Dissention Rising song of the same name with guitars and vocals from original members Danni Carroll and Keith Garrett. Whether that means it counts as a cover as such, who knows. It’s a similar concept to Therapy? Getting Ozzy Osbourne to join them for “Iron Man” on the Nativity In Black album. It works well with Viridi injecting a sense of new life as well as as having the album feel with the same production value and mix stamped firmly on it. Carroll does a great turn with a storytelling vocal style that brings some vampiristic tendencies to mind. “The Belligerent Dr. Ink” is the second instrumental track and is very much the cinematic car chase sequence as Devin Mysyk, Leo Viridi, Glen Drover and Keith Garrett each get a turn at the lead guitar wheel in a thoroughly enjoyable and captivating song. If anyone wants to score a remake of the John Travolta film “Swordfish” then here are your team! Injecting a darker overtone and stripping back on some of the brighter leads “Fazed and Distressed” is more of a straight up classic Metal tune with a familiarity to it because of the instant hook of the catchy riff. Lyrically a more personal cut Caroll, there is a lot of control in her voice throughout. The solo when it finally appears is quite the short face melter! The biggest set of guests are saved for the final track “Self Centered”, with Viridi joined by Carroll, Garrett, the Drover brothers and Chris Clancy of MutinyWithin and Wearing Scars fame adding vocals as well! Chunkier riffs during the verses bring the Metal while slowing things up for the chorus, which is mor classic Hard Rock. There is something freer feeling about this one while it’s pair of solos are sublime. The album at this point could do with a pair more tunes! [7.5/10]
1. Something to Prove
2. April Showers
3. Disillusioned (Instrumental)
4. Blood of Warriors
5. From the Inside
6. The Belligerent Dr. Ink (Instrumental)
7. Fazed and Distressed
8. Self Centered
Leo Viridi Rhythm and Bass Guitar (all tracks), Lead Guitar (tracks 3,4,6-8)
Shawn Drover (Ex-Megadeth, Act of Defiance) Drums (all tracks)