THOM MATHEWS - ENTRANCING THE POPULACE

INDEPENDENT

 

Metal To Infinity

People who know me in person know that I have a heart for individuals giving the best of the best in guitar ripping shred attacks - I call them axe wizards because of their impressive movements while hitting strings! I spent a long time looking for extravagant guitar players and since the day I set up Metal To Infinity Webzine Belgium, I met loads of them who took my breath away. Way back in the 80s we had record label Shrapnel Records led by grandmaster Mike Varney who shook the world with a whole lotta package of outstanding axe wielders. Classic Metal maniacs surely heard about the incredible “US Metal” series – one of the best compilation albums ever to me, US Metal reigns all over and I was hooked on it right from the start. Metal music including shred guitar tactics and high pitched, typical US Metal styled vocals still haunts me after all these years! 

Last year, I came in touch with an American multi instrumentalist named Thom Mathews who played with Quinta Essentia (technical Death Metal act) before he started to create his own instrumental compositions. It did not surprise me at all that Thom’s own made songs would appear on the horizon one day. Black Flame Records released his debut album “Mindcraft” followed by the three song piece called “Promo 2010”. The debut was a killer one to me but everything I’ve heard on the promo was even better – I can not imagine this sorts of guitar techniques can be improved. Detailed worked out guitar picking that barely dragged me into another dimension. Eagerly waiting for the new album, Thom just sent me a pre release promo CDR of his new bomb entitled “Entrancing The Populace”. 

Even the fact Thom is in charge for most of the guitar, bass and keyboard duties – there are also a few guest musicians on the list reaching a helping hand in the delivery of drum, cello, violin and bass works. Seven tracks reflecting on the CD player screen so let’s hit the play button! The CD opens with the title song, quite short piece but you feel the heart burning up slowly. ‘Meth Lab Explosion’ starts to play and shows right away where the name Thom Mathews stands for. He delivers very technical powerplay guitar playing to the extreme – fully instrumental that feels like pure US Power Metal track me. Even without a singer in the band, Thom makes his guitar sing…. this is world class! And there is more power well underway with next song called ‘Assassin Druid Assignment’ featuring dreamlike guitar moves in the vein of mighty Marty Friedman! James Murphy, Chuck Schuldiner, Toby Knapp or Jeff Waters come across my mind as well listening to the entire album.  

‘The Tear Collector’ opens with a Marty Friedman feel and goes on in a way like Metallica did on ‘Fade To Black’ / ‘Call Of Ktulu’. Great song breathing a dark feel and sad accent but the best has yet to come for me – last two tracks of Thom Mathews’s new album “Entrancing The Populace” can be considered as best compositions I’ve ever heard from him. Face melting solo’s, harsh and dirty Metal riffs, neck wrapping speed accelerations… this is what world class Shred Guitar Metal is all about! People turn their back as soon as a heartfelt shred lasts too long, I actually shall never understand why! In my case, the longer I hear a guitar scream and roar in a technical way, the better I feel – that’s for sure. 

I’ve heard the album several times by now and have to say that this is Thom Mathews’ best work so far!! More power than ever before and he plays it all in a manner of pure satisfaction. I guess that American record labels as Shrapnel Records or Shredguy Records could be interested. “Entrancing The Populace” – for US Power Metal maniacs longing to hear guitars screaming and roaring as technical as can be… I recommend Thom Mathews at: http://www.myspace.com/thommathews  

My Points: 98 / 100 (Review by Stefan)