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CHRIS POLAND

Progressive Metal • United States


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Chris Poland biography
Born in 1957, CHRIS POLAND is a veteran guitarist with experience from many different styles of music. He started playing when he was in high school in a jazz/rock band called WEKIN though later he would form his first real band called The New Yorkers, a Los Angeles fusion outfit. The band was considered highly sophisticated and even getting comparisons to bands such as Brand X, Mahavishnu Orchestra and Weather Report. His tenure in the band lasted from 1977-82 and in 1984 he joined newly founded thrash metal band Megadeth and it was in this band that he became an established and well known guitar player.

In 1987 he was forced to leave the band due to suspicion of stealing and selling the band's equipment for his heroin addiction. He only recorded 2 albums with Megadeth: Killing Is My Business... And Business Is Good! in 1985 and Peace Sells.But Who Is Buying? in 1986. After successfully being treated for his addictions, Poland joined punk rock band Circle Jerks as a bass player. Before recording his first solo release "Return to Metalopolis" he was asked to join Megadeth but rejected the offer. In the mid nineties he set up 2 projects called Damn the Machine in 1993 and Mumbo'S Brain in 1995; before finally establishing his current band Ohm, which released their debut in 2003. In between his various bands, Poland has been active as a solo artist and has even appeared as guest in different bands. His first solo release, "Return to Metalopolis", saw the light of day in 1990; and ten years later "Chasing the Sun" was released, as well as the compilation "Rare Trax" and in 2007 a live version of "Return To Metalopolis" was released.

- Bio by Sebastian Maldonado (burritounit) & Olav Bj°rnsen (Windhawk) -

Chris Poland official website

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Return to MetalopolisReturn to Metalopolis
Black Note Records 2004
Audio CD$5.36
$5.18 (used)
Chasing the SunChasing the Sun
Rotten 2004
Audio CD$11.57
$17.86 (used)
Rare TraxRare Trax
Import
Rotten 2004
Audio CD$6.91
$6.91 (used)
Return to Metalopolis: LiveReturn to Metalopolis: Live
Import
Lion Music Finland 2007
Audio CD$11.69
$20.18 (used)
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CHRIS POLAND discography


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CHRIS POLAND top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.31 | 7 ratings
Return To Metalopolis
1990
2.00 | 1 ratings
Rare Trax
2000
4.06 | 5 ratings
Chasing the Sun
2004
2.00 | 2 ratings
Polcat
2012

CHRIS POLAND Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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CHRIS POLAND Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Chasing the Sun by POLAND, CHRIS album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.06 | 5 ratings

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Chasing the Sun
Chris Poland Progressive Metal

Review by BORA

4 stars "Chasing The Sun"? So what happens if one were to catch up with the Sun? I am not sure if this album was made before, or after Poland's reported heroin addiction - that he managed to retire - but the album title remains rather questionable.

Nevertheless, the delivery of chops is brilliant from beginning to end. Poland's solo works have been - quite erroneously - likened to Brand X, something I would strongly dispute.

An instrumental work, but Jazz Rock/Fusion it isn't. It has more in common with Joe Satriani than with any other artist/band. Skillful and very enjoyable licks on every tune, but the compositions overall lack depth. Enjoyable, but they don't really "swing". Really strange for an American artist - assumedly - surrounded by Jazz. (Oddly enough, in recent decades European countries - especially Germany - have supported and promoted Jazz, Jazz Rock/Fusion well ahead of the US.)

This collection of tunes are - no doubt - worth checking out, but a masterpiece, they ain't. Not in Prog terms.

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 Polcat by POLAND, CHRIS album cover Studio Album, 2012
2.00 | 2 ratings

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Polcat
Chris Poland Progressive Metal

Review by Negoba
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Straightforward Funky Fun

Thanks to following Chris Poland's Ohm online, I got wind of this project sometime last year. I believe the internet fans may have even helped name the band. (I voted on Polcat.) The basic idea was a laid-back jazz session with co-leads of Poland's guitar and Frank Catalano's sax. While Catalano takes a slightly more prominent role, the highest moments on the album are when Poland lets it rip. Bassist Sean O'Bryan Smith has been doing alot of the promotion for this project, and for certain the rhythm section is not to be overlooked here. All of the players on this project have strong resumes, including the guest spoken word appearance by Malcolm Jamal Warner (yes him).

I must say that my initial reaction to this record was a bit of disappointment. This is fairly straight lounge jazz, with Catalano's sax being quite competent but producing virtually nothing challenging. Smith's playing is pretty typical as well, with his only standout track being the strong opener "Forget About It." Poland is his typical self, though he plays alot more rhythm guitar than I'm used to. I believe this was his first project back after coming off his ordeal with tinnitus, and he certainly didn't lose any chops. He's occasionally pushed a bit more outside than normal, and his tone isn't as thick as on earlier records. Sometimes, his speed runs really don't fit, and I'm not certain this is his natural element. He does have some monster licks, and as a fan of his playing, I can't complain too much.

Unfortunately, there are two new discs that are going to completely overshadow this one in my listening rotation in the long run. The first is Tosin Abasi's TRAM project which also moved toward jazz and included a wind player. The other is the second offering from Poland's other side project, Ohmphrey, whose samples are even better than the debut. Both are more daring, have better energy, and despite their all-star lineups feel like coherent bands. Polcat feels like a very good jam session between awesome players who really aren't that familiar with each other. Which is exactly what it was. What's more, TRAM's Adrian Terrazas and Ohmphrey's Robertino Pagliari put Polcat's Catalano and Smith to shame, frankly.

I must admit the this disc has grown on me over 10-20 listens but a year from now, it will be buried behind these two great albums. The best tracks are "Mighty Burner," the previously mentioned "Forget About It," and the strange but powerful "Americana." As a hard-core Poland fan, I'm exactly the audience for this disc. For everyone else, I've told you where to look.

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 Chasing the Sun by POLAND, CHRIS album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.06 | 5 ratings

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Chasing the Sun
Chris Poland Progressive Metal

Review by 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.

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 Return To Metalopolis by POLAND, CHRIS album cover Studio Album, 1990
3.31 | 7 ratings

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Return To Metalopolis
Chris Poland Progressive Metal

Review by Negoba
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Hidden Jem in the Shredder Vault

Over the last few years, I have become an enormous fan of Chris Poland. His playing combines some of the best elements of rock and fusion guitar into a unique sound that has appeal to a wide audience. For the most part, his talent is unfortunately recognized only by more diehard fans of the guitar. After being kicked out of his high profile gig in Megadeth, Poland emerged from rehab just at the peak of the era of shred guitar led by Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteen, and legions of imitators on the Shrapnel label. Other producers were looking for talent, and in 1990 Poland was tapped by Enigma to produce a shred album. The result was Return to Metalopolis, heavily advertised in the guitar mags but not anywhere else. Numerous young pickers grabbed this album expecting a new flavor of the month fret burner. Instead, they got one of the few albums from that glut of cassette tapes that has stood the test of time.

Poland had been a guitar wunderkind locally long before Yngwie hit. He cut his teeth on the 70's fusion shredders of Holdsworth, McLaughlin, and DiMeola, and unlike the rest of the neo-classical shredders, his playing was a true combo of metal and jazz fusion. What appealed to most metal heads at the time was the fact that Poland could actually play and write good metal rhythm guitar. (Sadly this album is really the last we hear of Poland's metal riff writing.) Most of the riffs on the shred albums were weak and clearly the players were playing rhythm just to back up their soloing. Poland had written compositions with not only great riffs worthy of his former bandleader Dave Mustaine, but bursting with melody as well. What's more, the jazz influenced melodies were much richer than anything seen anywhere in metal guitar playing, shred or otherwise. In addition, Poland's brother Mark had actually composed his drum parts to go with the songs, where many shred albums featured programmed drum beats (which weren't too complex in those days.)

Poland's use of dynamics, feedback, and multiple tones both clean and distorted distinguished him immediately. His bending technique and use of microtones has still never been matched. His note choice was that of a fusion master, though not as abrasive as Holdsworth. He also may be the best guitar jam soloist ever. This praise may sound like an excuse for a player who couldn't keep up with the young guns of the time. On the contrary, Poland dexterity was never an issue. His fluid legato lines equaled Satriani's, his vibrato eclipsed them all, and his pick speed (strange as his technique was) kept up with any in the genre.

It is hard to say whether this album influenced the jazz-metal that came in the 90's. Certainly, the sound of Metalopolis does not come off nearly as dated as most of its contemporaries. But Poland's technique is hard to emulate as a hand injury forced him to adopt some painful positions, and allows him stretches unavailable to most hands. The album fits within the idea of "Progessive Metal" especially considering when it came out. But Poland certainly would not have had prog on his mind in any way at that point. (Certainly jazz fusion, but shred and prog got fused by Dream Theater a few years later. It was on very few metalhead's radar at this point.)

Return to Metalopolis does have some weaknesses, however. The style Poland uses here is somewhat limited in breadth, and by the end gets to sounding a bit samey. The 2002 bonus tracks highlight this, with a great Hendrix homage (Poland happens to be my favorite guitarist in evoking Jimi, better even than SRV), and an early jam with his current band OHM (which is purely jazz fusion with Poland using a metallic tone as the only look back toward Megadeth).

This is a must have in the library of hardcore metal guitar fans. Its role in prog is unclear, but I think any prog metal fan will still thoroughly enjoy the album. Fans of Ohm looking back into Chris' back catalog should start with the more jazzy Chasing the Sun.

---Hope your hearing gets better soon Chris.

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