Release Date: 12th November 2013
Gary 'Rockulus' Clarke
Despite sharing the same surname as the bassist in Megadeth called David Ellefson, they aren't related. They do both have one thing in common though; they are both passionate about all things of a music-related nature.
This is where you and I enter proceedings as we're here to analyse his latest studio-based offering which isn't any reflection on his classical guitar qualifications, neither anything in connection to his Heavy Metal band Z-Order. This is solely a solo instrumental Rock album which is yet another example of this workaholic's output.
Why do I dare to call Mr. Ellefson a workaholic I hear you cry?! Well, it just so happens he is a busy bee with not only a solo instrumental Rock tendency and his classical instrumental guitar releases, but also as an author of literary fantasy and active within his role as a certified software developer! I realise that this isn't what Ellefson is all about, as there are many other strings to his bow if any more were needed. It gives you an insight in to his active pursuits.
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Having studied Psychology myself, it wouldn't be a major leap to suspect that he is driven to accomplish all of these things on a grandiose scale due to some major health issues that plagued him during the 90s. For example in 1994, he had significant surgery which left him with eight plates in his jaw. Then in 1996 Ellefson was confronted with the potentially life changing situation of suffering tendonitis in both arms that left him, as he says, temporarily crippled.
Real life scares of this nature are undoubtedly going to resonate and challenge to the point that you think about life in different ways. His motivation from these life experiences may well have driven him to pursue his interests with gusto. Whatever the underlying force, 'Now Weaponized!' is unleashed on the unsuspecting Rock-loving community and I'm going to share my views on it.
'Now Weaponized!' took me back to when I first stumbled across 'Passion And Warfare' by Steve Vai or 'Flying In A Blue Dream' by Joe Satriani. The only major observations when comparing these albums is that 'Now Weaponized!' doesn't share any vocals or samples as is evident in places on both of those examples. This is an album with a good production and sound which highlights the inner Rock guitarist.
'Keeping Pace' is a busy Rocking composition whilst 'Moshkill' pushes the heavier side more. Melodic-driven Rocking tunes arrive in the shape of 'Mesmerize' and 'Promenade' which are both enjoyable but by the time you reach the final and twelfth track 'Farewell', you're a little exhausted.
Is this a case of musicians listening to each other's capabilities and comparing notes on what the other can achieve technically? Certainly, 'Now Weaponized' contains different paces and waves the flag proudly for being a definite Rock collection, but perhaps with something extra like more diversity this album might have kept the attention?
Samples or the odd vocal contribution to add a different texture, maybe some more variety in the structures of the tracks would have brought this collection to life a little more?
Avoid if you're a fan of the conventional attitude towards songs containing lyrics to sing along with, or if instrumental passages bore you. Embrace if you're a fan of Rock guitar-driven instrumentals with flurries of various displays of guitar playing. I'm no guitar player myself; just a HUGE fan of the entire scope of what constitutes as Rock music in this day and age, but I must confess this album was hard work for me.
With respect to the virtuosity and sheer energy that is Randy Ellefson, this album is like marmite. You'll either love it or hate it.
2. Rapid Fire
3. The Thrill Of It All
5. Keeping Pace
6. Crunch Time
Randy Ellefson – All guitars, bass and drums.