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Jeff Loomis

It’s pretty cool that we live in a time where it’s once again cool to be able to play your instrument, like, really well. Even five years ago a dude like ex-Nevermore guitar god Jeff Loomis would never have had a chance for his instrumental shred solo album to be celebrated in the media; shit, it probably would’ve just been outright ignored outside of instrumental guitar metal circles and guitar magazines. I mean, even with widespread appreciation for instrumental metal in 2012 it’s not like Pitchfork, Stereogum, Brooklyn Vegan or NPR are suddenly gonna start jocking Jeff Loomis — being really good at an instrument is still uncool in those places and will be forever uncool (“it’s, like, totally soulless, man!”) until it’s ironic and meta to shred — but hey, differing opinions make the world go ’round, those metal outlets are all great at what they do, and fortunately for you we happen to be of the opinion that playing a million notes a minute fucking rules.

So: Loomis has been teasing his second solo album ever since quitting Nevermore and we’re finally starting to see what that album might look and sound like. Last week we learned that Marty Friedman, Tony MacAlpine and Chris Poland have all done guest solos for the album — how’s that for a legendary triumvirate? — and today we come to find out via a press release that the mighty IHSAHN — formerly of Emperor, currently of his own absolutely phenomenal solo band — will be lending his trademark black/death metal snarl to one track. Sez Loomis on how the collabo came together:

I know most of you are aware that Christine Rhoades [guest vocalist on Nevermore’s “Dreaming Neon Black”] is doing some vocals on my album. At first I thought she’d be the only guest singer on the record but then this one song started coming together, it’s pretty brutal. I’ve always wanted to do really, really heavy music and after hearing this, both Aaron and myself thought we needed some crazy, sick singer on it. We just sat around tossing names out for a bit, nothing really was sticking and then Aaron [Smith, the album’s producer, also guitarist of 7 Horns 7 eyes] says, ‘I got it…Ihsahn’ and it was one of those moments where you knew that was the answer all along, it just hadn’t been unlocked in your mind yet. Anyway, a few short emails back and forth and we had his vocal track in. It came out amazing. I can’t wait for you to hear it. Ihsahn, thanks again, it’s an honor to have you on my record.

I love how Loomis is throwing his status as Metal Guitar Badass around to cross guest artists off his personal bucket list for this album, much the same way Dave Grohl has somehow weaseled his way into working with every single one of his heroes over the years. And not for nothin’, we love Ihsahn and all the other guests he’s managed to corral; this album was already going to be good, but now it’ll just kick all that much more ass.

Loomis and Friends will be released later this year, date TBA.


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