Jake Dreyer: In the Shadows of Madness

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Jake Dreyer: In the Shadows of Madness
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Jake Dreyer: In the Shadows of Madness
Death Metal, Heavy Metal, Melodic Death Metal, Progressive Metal
Self-release
June 14th, 2011
Release length: 18:09
Website
Jake Dreyer is not a new name to the world of Metal, but chances are good many people have yet to hear this man. He has studied under guitar legends such as David Shankle of Manowar fame, Chris Broderick of Megadeth and Nevermore, as well as Rusty Cooley of Outworld. He’s won many awards through the years like Stoli/Budweisers 2007 “Best Guitarist of the Year” and a finalist in the 2009 IMA for the song “War Path”. He has been involved with a number of acts throughout the years, and now has set his sights on releasing his own solo material. This is where In the Shadows of Madness comes into play. This debut EP really shows a very impressive guitar performance from this Yngwie Malmsteen influenced guitarist, and with this eighteen plus minute EP, he and band mates Adam Sagan (ex-Into Eternity) on drums and Noah Martin (Arsis) transport you to a world of varying Metal styles and atmospheres that set a dark and chaotic backdrop that many acts today would only wish they could replicate.

It’s a little hard to sit down with In the Shadows of Madness and try to pick apart exactly what styles Jake Dreyer is going for on the release. With “Beyond the Tranquil Descent”, the start of the album sounds more like a haunting introduction instrumental that one might find on an early eighties Thrash album, such as the start of Alice in Hell by Annihilator, but as it goes on it clearly just sticks with that sort of atmosphere and becomes more of an emotional Hard Rock ballad that really captures more of a one-on-one feel with the listener, as if you were at a hole in the ground venue with a band playing a small, intimate set for some of their most dedicated fans. But that atmosphere is basically blindsided with the following track “Harmony of the Spheres”, which is a very interesting track in that it seems to blend in Jake’s obvious Heavy Metal roots with a more Death Metal meets Melodic Death Metal approach that really weaves a spellbinding, almost Progressive-style atmosphere to the track with the enchanting yet ruthless music that carries on throughout the entire song. The track seems to take from older Death Metal acts such as Death, as well as even the Melodic Death Act Arch Enemy. Of course, with the way that the song is performed, fans of the television series Metalocalypse, or just the band Dethklok will enjoy the stronger Heavy Metal fused chords in the abrasive Death Metal atmosphere. While this is far from what that show or band offer, it’s a reasonable comparison due to the fame and infamy they both carry.

In the Shadows of Madness closes with another impressive and technical track like “Harmony of the Spheres”, but then seems to conclude in that haunting ballad-style performance “Beyond the Tranquil Descent” utilized. This track, however, is where things really start to shift, and that aforementioned Progressive trait shows up. “Beyond the Tranquil Descent” showed signs of a Spanish musical heritage appreciation in some chords, but it was very feint in the mix and some may not even pick up on it at first. However, “Drawing of the Three” takes things more in a Progressive Rock manner after those two main style focuses by bringing in a richer Spanish musical sound to the track for a good while until hammering back into a sterner Death Metal oriented style. It’s an interesting offering, and there are definitely a good number of changes within the music itself to keep up with the staple concepts of Progressive Rock and Metal, but the atmospheres of this track don’t quite seem as strong, and largely focuses on the more technical guitar performance skill then anything else.

But, no matter how you look at it, In the Shadows of Madness is an EP that is well worth experiencing. These three songs are easily some of the most impressive Metal instrumentals you will happen to find, and even some of the most impressive tracks for their styles you may hear compared to many of today’s more popular artists. While the atmosphere seems cloudy on “Drawing of the Three”, the first two tracks here really showcase a rich mixture of solid music and strong emotional ties that really make this effort stand out. The more complex guitar performances come off very impressive, and never go so far as to be too over-the-top with technical showmanship that acts like Braindrill and even Origin have started offering lately. If you have yet to hear Jake Dreyer, then take the time to experience this solo release, as it really is well worth looking into.

01. Beyond the Tranquil Descent – 5:42
02. Harmony of the Spheres – 5:19
03. Drawing of the Three – 7:09
Initial Pressing Score: 9/10

Jake Dreyer (band)

Digital review copy of this release provided by Jake Dreyer via Freeman Promotions.