It's a shred fest. Simply put guitarist Thom Mathews lays the fingers to the frets and delivers some major metal moments on his newest release. That is the good news. With this release though Thom also shows a tendency to overindulge in his abilities. There is too many times on the album where you get the feeling that you are listening to a bunch of guitar solos strung together rather than a melody.
He sets the tone for the album with the extended intro that is also the title track "Entrancing The Populace". Fingers flying up and down the fretboard makes you think that Thom is channeling Yngwie Malmsteen for this flight of fancy but quite frankly, this falls flat as the opening song. It seems like he is just trying to show off as apposed to making something musical. Luckily he delves into the strange but impossible to dislike chaos called "Meth Lab Explosion". This song which I previously reviewed on Mathews promo disc showcases his abilities using many styles to make a statement. It is some terrific guitar playing that is put together in a much more cohesive fashion than some of the other songs on this album. I wish I had a fraction of the ability he shows here. I also wish that he could maintain this level of songwriting throughout the whole disc but with the next track "Assassin Droid Assignment" he gives you a very bland bit of melody where the rhythm part is more interesting than the lead guitar.
"The Smell of Napalm" is where I really had to cringe. Here Thom just can't make up his mind as to what this song is going to be and the result is a disjointed mess with a bunch of wankering in between. At least you come to two major highlights after that. "The Tear Collector" and "Taming the Wyverm" which both appeared on his promo I reviewed and are great examples of Mathews showing us just what he is capable of and when he is hitting on all cylinders.
He ends the disc like he starts it with a bit of a neo-classic feel on the track "Neurocircus". This time though he displays a much more melodic approach and the results are much better than at the start of the album. Sit back and enjoy the artistry and talent that Thom shows here cause there are not many who can do it this well.
All in all this is a pretty good disc that has some bumps along the road. Not many but still there are times that you are going to just want to skip ahead to the next track. This guy is a major talent that is going to make some serious noise in the music world eventually. He just needs a bit of fine tuning.
1. Entrancing the Populace
2. Meth Lab Explosion
3. Assassin Droid Assignment
4. The Smell of Napalm
5. The Tear Collector
6. Taming the Wyvern