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Chris Poland - Chasing the Sun CD (album) cover

CHASING THE SUN

Chris Poland

 

Progressive Metal

4.06 | 5 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Negoba
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Jazz Fusion Guitar Feast with a Sprinkling of Metal

It is no secret that I think Chris Poland is one of the best modern guitar players. His combination of expressive technique and tone are basically unmatched. At the same time, he can shred with the best of them. Starting as a Mahavishnu devotee, he gained prominence as Megadeth's first lead guitarist, did some work in his own metal projects, and finally reverted back to jazz fusion. Chasing the Sun is a transition album, the last solo effort before the formation of the monster trio Ohm. It is a collection of demos, reportedly, but all but three tracks sound like fully realized studio versions. Two of those, clearly jams to a drum machine track, feature some simply mindblowing guitar playing (earning their spot on the album) and a live track by an early incarnation of Ohm.

To be fair, this album is pure jazz fusion with a metallic guitar tone. Mark Poland, Chris' brother, provides strong drum work just as he did on the previous Return to Metalopolis and Damn the Machine albums. But he is not a jazz monster like David Eagle or Kofi Baker of Ohm, and as such Chasing the Sun really is a solo album. Bass and drums provide great support for Chris' compositions, but virtually never take center stage. And in fact, unlike many guitar solo albums, the compositions themselves grab as much attention as the playing itself. I would put this album at almost equal footing with the first Ohm: album as my favorite Poland work.

Among my favorite songs on the album are "Wendell's Place," which features a great melody and spooky bridge, the haunting ballad "Mercy," and the dark "Alphabet City" which refers back to past demons. "Sand Castles" highlights Poland's mastery as an interpreter of Jimi Hendrix (which has always impressed me and can be seen in various live videos). "Salvador" which is clearly just a jam, is a latin flavored quick groove that features positively furious clean guitar playing that makes me just want to set the instrument down. "Interference Blues" is a blue jam from the same vein that starts with the clean guitar but then shifts to Poland's insane horn-like distorted tone and a great melody.

Though Chasing the Sun is an obscure jem, I put it as one of the best guitar albums ever made. This is the marquee demo of the perhaps the most complete player the instrument has had. As a fusion album it is very solid, though not definitive. Many of the compositions foreshadow the Ohm project. It's not strictly prog, but certainly has sensibilities that will appeal to any prog fan. Highly recommended.

Negoba | 4/5 |

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