Jeff Loomis
Zero Order Phase

I really wanted to like this album. Well… I do like it, but I wanted to love it. I wanted to never get enough of it. But I got enough after the first couple spins. Don’t get me wrong, I love Loomis’ playing and I love Nevermore. But this could have been so much better, at least to these ears. Let’s talk about the good things, first.

Ok, this is Jeff Loomis. Was there ever a question in your mind regarding the quality of his performance? The man shreds with the best of them. Drummer Mark Arrlington (Nevermore 93 – 94) pounds the kit like a champ with attitude to spare. The production is awesome. Meaty but with tons of clarity. The album also has some nice guest appearances. Watchtower’s Ron Jarzombek splits some solos with Loomis on “Jato Unit”. Pat O’Brian of Cannibal Corpse fame also lays down some licks on “Rage Against Disaster”. The album also features well done acoustic guitar and fretless bass work.

But now for the bad news. In my honest opinion, this album sounds just plain empty. ┬áIt sounds like a Nevermore album without vocals and more solos. Much of this record runs together and severely fails in grabbing my attention. It’s not due to the performances, as they are top notch. Where this album fails is in the writing. Much of it strikes me as predictable, especially after hearing Loomis pull the same stops in Nevermore. The best riffs on this album are only slightly memorable, and just make me want to pull out Dreaming Neon Black. And the solos? Shred-tastic, but sometimes showing little personality or meaning.

The album does have some softer moments, though, which help break things up. “Azure Haze” starts like a Symphony X interlude ala Divine Wings… or Twilight In Olympus. It turns into a sorrowful ballad, with some of the better soloing on the album. “Cashmere Shiv” comes next, with some brooding stacatto riffing, before branching off into exotic fretless bass territory. I can tell he wanted to create a more rounded album, but it comes off as two dimensional more than anything. Maybe I’m just spoiled by the complex and extravagant instrumental albums of my personal collection. That’s not to say Zero Order Phase isn’t a worthy listen for metal fans. If you like head banging to nasty riffs and polishing your air guitar skills on some sick soloing, then I doubt this will dissapoint.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Belgarath
December 6th, 2008


  1. Commented by: jk666

    I totally agree. I was really looking forward to this album and was bored with it after a couple spins. Makes you realize that some guys work better within a band. Warrell’s solo album wasn’t much better.

  2. Commented by: stiffy0000

    Not into instrumentals anyway. Especially shredfests. Need more depth.

  3. Commented by: Cynicgods

    I’ve got to hear this so I can give an opinion but I really liked Warrel Dane’s record. Having the true Soilwork composer on guitars, Verbeuren on drums and Dane on vocals makes for a solid album.

  4. Commented by: Belgarath

    I haven’t gotten to Dane’s record, but I remember it was highly regarded on the boards. Gotta give it a listen.

  5. Commented by: ceno

    I’ve got the same problem with Zero Order Phaze. To my mind, an instrumental album should be much more diverse to stand out among those with vocals. Dane’s solo album is amazing. Features on of the best pieces of songwriting work I have heard this year. Also, the Sisters Of Mercy cover is stellar.

  6. Commented by: Dimaension X

    I agree with all of the above. Loomis is an incredibly gifted guitarist, but his playing is just more suited to being part of a band than a solo act.

    But kudos for trying.

  7. Commented by: Vance

    I have “Praises to the War Machine” on my top 10 list of the year, I think as far as writing good songs Warrel did a great job, there is not a bad song on that CD. Loomis’ album is good, but you know it’s hard to get into a instrumental album the same way you do as one with the full compliment of components and since Dane is such a vital part of when you usually hear Loomis it’s just too hard not to miss him…. haha, I doubt all that made any sense….

    ..anyways… ENSLAVED is better than all of it, haha!!!!

  8. Commented by: axiom

    Jeff Loomis wanted to do this for years, and it sounds much like the Schrapnel albums of the mid to late eighties. No doubt he grew up loving those artists. This must be more of a personal venture for him. It has great playing, but I must agree with you guys, it’s not something I’m going to keep listening to. C’mon Nevermore!

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