Guitarist Corey Smoot passed away from a heart attack while on tour with Gwar in November of last year. By that point, he had been shredding as the character Flattus Maximus for almost a decade. Now Metal Blade is releasing When Worlds Collide, a solo album from Smoot, including spots from his friends in Gwar and Municipal Waste. Every penny from the album goes to Smoot’s family, which quintuples the asshole factor for anyone considering stealing it.

So When Worlds Collideis is a worthy purchase, for sure — but is it actually good to listen to?


No surprise — it’s the riffage that carries this album through its twelve tracks. Smoot’s furied work comes across on opener “The Blood Red,” a thrashing charger that empties out half way to make room for a shamelessly epic Smoot lead.  A number of tracks end up having a guitar-clinic feel to them. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, and players could do worse than take heed from the 3-feel “Mandatory Purgatory” or the weird pinched picking of the title track. Let no one say the man did not know what he was doing on the axe.

That “awesome guitar teacher’s demo” vibe would be reduced if this album wasn’t a little rough performance and mixwise. The drums suffer from the unfortunate combo of sloppy performance and synthetic production.  Smoot does the vocals, and even with the filters and layers he applies, it sounds like post grunge in space for part of “Brainfade,” although the harmonic doom lines with its digital manipulations  on “Fortunate Sun” hit the correct notes.

The production issues make it tempting to declare When Worlds Collide a rush job, but that seems unnecessary. With Smoot’s death last year, this album could not have been properly finished. Instead, it’s a reminder of a player’s skill, and a chance to help out those he left behind.


(2 out of 5 horns)



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