CHRIS POLAND - Return To Metalopolis 2002

Chris Poland - Return To Metalopolis 2002

12 songs
55:19 minutes
***** ****


Most people nowadays remember Chris Poland as guitar player for Megadeth in the mid- to late-Eighties, when they released their best material. But metal nostalgics like me still daydream about the day when I say Chris with Damn The Machine opening for Dream Theater, and although mostly ignored by people back then, I always liked their melodic prog metal far better than 99% of pretentious progginess.

In between Megadeth and Damn The Machine, Chris Poland found the time to record one of the most important (maybe even THE most important) metal instrumental album of all time. The year was 1990. Guitar virtuoso like Vinnie Moore and Tony MacAlpine had already recorded long winded instrumental albums with a lot of long guitar solos and classical adaptations, and out comes - all of a sudden - Chris Poland. Thrash metal was still not the big thing, and not only I wondered what a thrash or speed metal musician could add. What many people didn't know was that Chris had already been active since the 70ies as a fusion guitar player, and the original Return To Metalopolis was something the metal world had never encountered before.

The songs were metal, that much was clear, but instead of playing pointless solos, the guitar was something like a voice... maybe without the quirkiness you found these years with artists like Vai or Satriani, but therefore with really excellent songwriting and a refreshing take-no-prisoners attitude. The title song or also the opening track Club Ded are still among the best instrumental album you will find today.

Looking 12 years back into the past, you notice a production that sounds a little dated, but the warmth of the instruments makes up for that. Considering that this was a family affair, Chris' brother Mark playing the drums, Chris doing all the other instruments, it's even more of a marvel. The new version contains two bonus tracks, where above all The Heavy Guitar Jam - a quarter of an hour long - may be interesting for guitar music fans. I have to admit though that although it's a good idea to add 20 minutes of unreleased material, the new songs don't reach the quality of the original material. If I had given 10 points to the original, I "only" give 9 points to the reissue. If you bought this album back when it came out (like I did), you don't really have to get the new version, otherwise this is a must for every person calling themselves a metal fan.

Back to Reviews