Rob Johnson (Heaven Cross) 2001
1. "Soul Chuckles" (6:14)
Rob's solo disc is a bit shorter than the two the follow it, which to be quite honest, isn't a bad thing when it comes to these types of shred-guitar-instrumental CDs. To me, this style can get boring. I guess I just prefer song with vocals, or at least some songs with vocals. "Soul Chuckles" starts things off with a bit of heavy funk-n-groove. Unlike some of the other songs on this CD, this track sounds very little like Magnitude 9's progressive metal tendencies. "Having Gone Berzerk", on the other had could very well have fit onto a Magnitude 9 disc as an instrumental. This track is fast, heavy and progressive. Similarly, "Lave Shower" and "Thing-A-Ma-Jig" are all fine shred-o-matic rockers with a similar progressive metal feel. Overall, probably my favorite of the three Rob Johnson CDs. The brevity of the CD actually makes it a bit more appealing than some of the others.
Rob Johnson - Guitarchitecture (Heavencross) 2001
"Guitarchitecture" is the second (or third?) CD of Rob Johnson's shred guitar trilogy (the others being "Rob Johnson" and "Peripheral"). Of course Rob is also the guitarist and songwriter for Magnitude 9. I'm sure had someone at Shrapnel Records heard this disc, they would have clamored at the opportunity to put this disc out, as this is right up their alley. There are plenty of over-the-top guitar pyrotechnics, crunchy rhythm work and progressive metal compositions. In reality, "Guitarchitecture" sounds like Magnitude 9 with a lead guitar for a vocalist. Some of these songs are pretty heavy for guitar-shred instrumental. Parts of "Transcendental" almost have a thrash metal thing happening. In any case, I must admit, I am more a fan of metal with vocals, than I am this type of shred-metal, but at times I find it quite enjoyable. Since I enjoyed Magnitude 9's discs so much, however, I had to give at least one of Rob's solo discs a spin.
Rob Johnson - Peripheral (Heaven Cross) 2001
1. "Matter of Fact" (4:08)
Disc number three (or two, I am not sure is Guitarmageddon or Peripheral came out first) from Rob Johnson is contains more guitar antics and material that is not unlike the stuff on his first two. So, while I do enjoy listening to this disc, there really isn't much more to say that what I have already said in the above reviews. As with the others, there is plenty of jaw dropping guitar solos, as well as some experiments in sound and style. "Peripheral" is well executed, heavy, progressive, instru-metal.