Get this crazy baby off my head!


Gus Drax

Gus Drax - In Search Of Perfection - 2010 - Gus Drax

Normally I'm not really a fan of instrumental CD's. Too often that kind of albums run away in idyllic noodling, endless frivolity or pointless haggling or the emotion of a singer is being missed unnecessarily. Aimlessly running around on the neck of a guitar and forgetting to write decent songs, simply does not speak to me. But none of this is happening on the album 'In Search of Perfection' by Gus Drax. Next to being the guitarist of the British band Biomechanical he is also, since early this year, picking the strings in Paradox and now he has released a self financed instrumental CD. The nine tracks that roar by show how an instrumental album should be constructed. It most definitely has its virtuoso and frivolous moments, but at no point this gets priority. The guitar playing is in service of the tracks, which, with the exception of one, all have a progressive speed and thrash metal sound. Only 'In Loving Memory' sounds subdued and sensitive. Without putting down the other tracks, especially 'Kiss Of Life', 'End Of Innocence', 'In Presence Of The Dead' or the fast, heavier 'Abnormal Sequence' are the gems of this instrumental album. Gus received some help from his friends with this album: Steve Smyth (ex-Forbidden, ex-Nevermore, ex-Testament) and Dimitirs Bournakas each play a short solo on the album and Bob Katsionis (keyboard - Firewind, Outloud) and Vasilis Liakos (bass) play along on the song 'Vitality'. Lovers of guitar heroes like Jeff Loomis, Jason Becker and Marty Friedman would do well to buy this album rapidly. To them 'In Search of Perfection' is a 100% compulsory purchase! © Patrick Verhoeven 86/100 © 1999-2013 Lords Of Metal ezine http://www.lordsofmetal.nl/en/reviews/view/id/16028

Three months ago we stumbled across a young Greek guitar virtuoso named Gux Drax, and based on the evidence of a few instrumental songs that were then available from a forthcoming solo album, we wrote a short post saying how blown away we were by what we were hearing. The complete album is now out, and we’ve had it on heavy rotation since it arrived from Greece. It’s called In Search of Perfection, and as far as we’re concerned Gus can ease up on the search — because it’s nearly perfect. We’ll tell you about that album and why you definitely should track it down, we’ll give you a song to stream from the album, and you can read our interview of Gux Drax — all that after the jump. Based on the evidence of In Search of Perfection, Gus Drax is a prodigiously talented dude. Not only can he stun you into awestruck silence with the level of his guitar skill, but the nine songs on In Search of Perfection, all of which Gus wrote himself, prove that he’s also an exceptionally gifted songwriter. Plus, he plays with two different bands (the UK’s Biomechanical and Germany’s Paradox). And did we mention that he’s only 22 years old? Shit, Paradox has been around longer than he’s been alive! There’s no clean singing on any of the songs on In Search of Perfection. Actually, there’s no singing at all. Just one mesmerizing instrumental performance after another. Most of the tracks are fast-paced and all are infectiously melodic (in addition to being compulsively headbangable). On those faster songs, Gus lays down some heavy rhythm guitar riffs, often at thrash-metal speed, and then establishes a memorable melodic theme with a guitar lead, to which he eventually returns from time to time. But as infectious as those melodies are, it’s what comes in between the choruses that really sends this album over the top. Using a variety of picking and playing styles and producing a variety of tones, Gus fills out the songs with amazing solo variations on the main themes, one jaw-dropper after another. The solos range from smooth, legato-style arpeggios to howling shreds that soar off into the stratosphere. And in each song, just when you think the solos have hit their pyrotechnic peak, Gus proves you wrong by shifting into an even higher gear and taking off into an even more mind-bending flight of guitar virtuosity. But the guitar playing on In Search of Perfection is much more than simply a display of technical mastery. The playing has heart and soul, and the depth of feeling in the sounds Gus produces may be the most amazing accomplishment of all for a musician so young. Similarly, the songs are not simply platforms for Gus to use in strutting his stuff — they really work as mature, fully realized songs that are memorable and just as awesome to hear for the tenth time as for the first. And speaking of soul, the one down-tempo track on the album, “In Loving Memory”, is really one long, emotionally powerful, deeply soulful solo. It’s filled with melancholy, but not gloom; it is instead quite strikingly beautiful. Gus didn’t play every instrument on the album, but the allies he enlisted to round out the sound are very good. Vasilis Liakos does solid work on bass and Bob Katsionis (Firewind, ex-SepticFlesh) injects some beautiful keyboard stylings (in addition to playing bass on “Vitality”). Dimitris Bournakas provides a brief guest solo at the end of “Abnormal Sequence,” and Steve Smyth (ex-Nevermore, ex-Testament) a second guest solo, also brief. The drums were programmed. We wouldn’t have complained much if In Search of Perfection had at times been uneven; this is, after all, the debut work of a young musician beginning to stretch his wings. A few diamonds in the rough would have been just fine. But the truth is, there are no weak spots on the album. All the songs are strong, and they stay with you. If you’re interested in listening to some first-rate, high-energy prog metal by a star on the rise, definitely check this out. Mark our words: you will be hearing a lot more about Gus Drax in the future. Five songs from In Search of Perfection are now available for streaming on Gus’s MySpace page. So, we’ll give you a sixth one to hear right now. Buckle your seatbelts © 2013 NO CLEAN SINGING http://www.nocleansinging.com/2010/04/26/gus-drax-in-search-of-perfection/

Perfection is impossible, and for that we should all be eternally grateful. It would kill ambition, murder desire, suffocate aspiration, rape hope; these are the things that make life worth living, the elements of contrast that make us appreciate what we have accomplished and what we have yet to achieve. Now, that isn't to say that some people get much closer to the impossible than others. Take Gus Drax: this Greek shred psycho plays with astonishing speed, technicality and finesse well on par with resident bullies of the guitar instrumental block like Satriani, Malmsteen, Vai as well as Prog veterans Petgrucci and Batio, but with a nice peppering of malevolent chaos, demonstrating with intensity why he is the string master for England's number one Industrial Metal juggernaut, BIOMECHANICAL (check out "Cerebral Chaos" for the ultimate example). Combined with a stunning knack for tinkering with your emotional EQ through sweeping melody, the grand guitar virtuosity presented consumes our senses with an inherent certainty that Gus Drax has travelled far and attained much "In Search Of Perfection". Implementing fluid arpeggios, searing sweeps, precision picking, soaring solos and other masterful techniques, Gus takes the listener on a multi-textured roller coaster through pensive lulls and grinding builds, cresting epically and frequently, twisting and turning through stylistic variations with hypnotic ease. Oh, and by the way - he's only 23. You know those young guitarists who made an early impact on the Metal scene - the stunning rise of then-13 year old brothers Waclaw (Vogg) and Witold (Vitek, R.I.P) Kieltyka with Poland's legendary DECAPITATED, for example - all righteous in their own rights, and even in cases of the most elite young musicians, they are countable as peers with whom Gus Drax must be considered as one of the best ever. Listen to the Funk-flavored "1,000 Nights", the grand majesty of "In Presence Of The Dead", and the menacing ferocity of "Abnormality Sequence", then ask yourself: If he's capable of such an elite magnitude of instrumental mastery already, where does he go from here? Perfection will forever remain as distant as the setting sun, but when you're standing as close to it as Gus Drax, it's no wonder he wears sunglasses all the time. By & © Brian Davis © 2004-2013 Metaleater Media, Inc - All Rights Reserved. http://metaleater.net/albumreviews-gusdrax2010.php

Originally the shredder for that seminal U.K. progressive thrash behemoth Biomechanical, Gus Drax has now blazed his own trail and released an album he can call his own. Its ambitious title proves a fitting declaration of intent once Gus lets it rip at the glorious opener Kiss of Life. His playing won't be lost on fans of Jeff Loomis, Michael Amott, and even that other Greek wunderkind, Gus G., all guitarists who have the neo-classical touch in their own repertoire's. The same flare for technical bombast and sonic drama courses though each salvo of impeccable musicianship on this album. Consistent from first song to last and still endowed with enough variety that lends the whole effort a unique character, Gus is in great shape whether the occasion calls for no-holds-barred shred (Cerebral Chaos) or the improvisational swagger of 1,000 Nights. What the breadth of his talent reveals is he's no one trick pony. Gus Drax may have arrived on the masterful Biomechanical opus Cannibalized (buy it, it's one of those rare albums both awe-inspiring and technical), but his ambition ranges far beyond the confines of thrash…even if he recently joined German thrash band Paradox last January. Since consistency is a reliable measure of a good album, In Search of Perfection is a damn fine album by any measure. Not only does Gus prove he's a guitarist to be reckoned with (if he's already this good at 22, what more by the time he's in his 30s?) but a man dedicated to songcraft as well. This explains why he's able to combine his brilliant displays of technique with oozing drama. For proof there's the tender twists and turns of In Loving Memory, the soaring In the Presence of the Dead that puts most power metal virtuosos to shame, and the flawlessly executed bonus track Vitality. But In Search of Perfection would not have been realized hadn't Gus' collaborators lent him a hand. Fellow Greeks John Symionis and bassist Vasilis provide the rhythm section for all the tracks here. Also included are contributions by ex-Nevermore guitar whiz Steve Smyth plus Dmitris Bourrakas and Bob Katsionis. Except for Smyth, none of them are 'name' musicians but without their efforts, In Search of Perfection would not be the worthy introduction to Gus Drax that it is. Review: by & © Miguel Blardony, 06.21.2010 ©1999-2013 Craig S. Hartranft http://www.dangerdog.com/2010-music-reviews/gus-drax-in-search-of-perfection-review.php#.UpUpVcRdXAw
I am in such a state I have only been specific times in my life before. It is this feeling of a discovery that it feels like it’s going to change a lot. Inside you and around you as well. Now, somebody would ask logically ”How can this be happening with just a musical album?” and there comes the part you must answer in a way to make him understand what you say, without being overreactive or use exaggerated adjectives. I only have to say that in a world where everybody are trying about this one hit wonder, that will lead them to the doors of a big record company, this first attempt of Gus Drax, is more than a diamond shining, in a place where mud and dirt takes over. The only thing someone must do to find it, is dig in unknown depths. The treasure lies in front of his eyes (and ears as well). Little I should say about this album, consisting of nine songs and 48 minutes of pure poetry without words. To create a full instrumental album in the year of 2010 is more than commercial suicide. But not for this guy. Not only he was not afraid to produce this masterpiece, but he also put so much love into it, that you can tell even from the first notes of ”Kiss Of Life” there’s something special moving on here. My first contact with him was in a show of Biomechanical, where he had the difficult tusk to play on his own the insane work of two guitar players. Not only I was astonished by his presence, but I also called him ”New Jeff Loomis” in my heart, regarding his strong and direct playing, his insane solos, even his seven-string guitar. Now he proves me that he’s so much more than that. In this album you will find crazy songs like ”The End Of Innocence” or ”Cerebral Chaos”. Representative enough of his skills and influences, they make us float in this sea of rapidly changing emotions, especially with tracks like ”In Loving Memory” (in this one, it’s like seeing the spirit of Criss Oliva smiling, not for any particular reason, that’s what just came to my mind) with its great melodies and the touching solos. He can remind you of great players, like his beloved John Petrucci, the glory days of Jeff Loomis in Nevermore and his personal albums, Marty Friedman in his Cacophony days and his first personal albums and many more. The most impressive is the way he shows us how complete he is as a guitar player, combining multiple styles, but in the end, leaving his personal mark on all of these. A great example of his diverse riffing could easily be ”Hourglass”, which could have been a melodic Biomechanical song. Pure insanity with Gus racing against only himself, leaving everyone and everything behind. In the age of 23 he shows such talent and vision for the future, than when he becomes even greater in status, he will refer to this album with pride. And believe me, he’s going to be so right you can’t imagine. This album is for sure the beginning of a history to be written in golden pages. The signs are clear and only if he doesn’t want to, he won’t be standing next to the greatest one day. ”1000 Nights” is a tribute to his favourite group Dream Theater, while ”In Presence Of The Dead” and ”Abnormal Sequence” raise barriers to all those that will try to copy him and will be proved amateurs. Finally, we have ”Vitality” as a bonus track which closes ideally an album that will be a companion for life. This search for perfection was succesful in all ways for little Gus and the first step, meaning recognition is already achieved. He dared and he won. Also winners in this case are all listeners of good and full of quality music. A win/win situation that will open new soundscapes in the future, as i have the feeling he’s going to offer us much more in the years to come. Don’t miss the chance to be part of something unique and full of honesty. In a time where nothing is more permanent than what just comes and goes, Gus Drax is here to stay with us all. Perfection you said? Only a matter of time! September 12, 2010 © 2008 - 2013 Metalpaths. All Rights Reserved. http://www.metalpaths.com/reviews/2010/09/12/gus-drax-in-search-of-perfection/

Gus Drax was born on September 21, 1987 in Larissa, Greece. He has been playing guitar since he was 14 years old and is regarded as one of the most talented guitarists ever to come from Greece. More albums like this and maybe people will finally take notice of this amazing Greek guitarist. Regina Coles of ESETSTA MUSIC made the comment, “It’s ironic that this young prodigy has not been exposed to the world. That is going to come into fruition this year as many jump on board the DRAX fan cart. We really appreciate this great talent. We've been waiting for his greatness for a long time. Wonderful talent”. Wonderful album as well and HR by A.O.O.F.C. Buy this album and support the lesser known artists out there who are drowning in a sea of contrived commercial trash masquerading as music. Anybody got their Boyzone concert tickets yet? May your God forgive you! (lol)! [All tracks @ 320 Kbps: File size = 120 Mb]


1. Kiss of Life 3:50
2. The End Of Innocence 5:36
3. Cerebral Chaos 5:06
4. In Loving Memory 7:09
5. Hourglass 4:35
6. 1000 Nights 3:46
7. In Presense Of The Dead 7:28
8. Abnormal Sequence 6:56
9. Vitality (Bonus Track) 4:29

All tracks composed by Gus Drax


Gus Drax - Guitars, Drum Programming on six tracks
Dimitris Bournakas, Steve Smyth - Guest Solo Guitars on Track 8
Vasilis Liakos - Bass
Bob Katsionis - Bass on Track 9, Keyboards
Kostas Milonas - Drums on three tracks

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