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Rusty Cooley (Reissue)
Instrumental Guitar
Rating: 4.5/5.0

Most of you will know Rusty Cooley from his amazing guitar work with his progressive metal band Outworld. But did you know that in 2003 he released his debut solo album on the Lion Music label? Maybe not. Lion Music has seen fit to reissue this fantastic work, remixing and remastering it, giving it new artwork, and adding a DVD where Mr. Cooley offers a guitar lesson. Without doubt, Cooley is one of the finest guitarist in the world right now. He's a shredder, but more than that because he's comfortable exploring and playing a breadth of styles.

The first thing you'll notice when listening to this work is that this not Outworld. Yes, there are slight moments of prog metal. But you will find Cooley's music to be more melodic and easier to follow then tricky arrangements of Outworld. Here the focus is upon Cooley's singular guitar skill. All this begins with the very first number, 'Under The Influence,' a solid melodic hard rock piece that displays Rusty's quick fret work. Cooley will mix things up at times like on the longer 'Dark Matter,' which has a more subdued acoustic foundation at the outset and then speeds up with some fiery guitar licks. On 'EBE,' Cooley shows that he can pack a lot into a little time; it's short and filled with more blistering guitar work. The true gems come as you approach the close of the album. 'Hillbilly Militia,' my favorite track, blends a strong bass line with some unexpected and pleasing shred. 'Jazzmine's Song' is simply a stunning example of smooth melodic guitar rock. It's highlighted by Eric Sands fretless bass work in the middle section. Finally, 'The Duel' is exactly that: Cooley trading licks with Outworld keyboardist Bobby Williamson; amazing stuff!

While you're waiting for the new Outworld album, I recommended that you step back in time a few years and hear where their foundations arose. Rusty Cooley's debut album is dynamite stuff. Every guitar player and fan should pick this up. Highly recommended!   - Craig Hartranft

In Short

Before there was Outworld, Rusty Cooley was demonstrating his guitar skills by releasing a solo effort in 2003. NMelodic, filled with great songs, exceptional fret work and reissued, 'Rusty Cooley' is a must-have for all who love masterful guitar work.

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