Fraser Edwards - I Am God

10 songs
38:53 minutes
***** ****


We all have our guilty pleasures when it comes to being somewhat ashamed of liking music that one should really despise. My dirty little secret is Nitroís late Eighties album O.F.R. (Out-Fucking-Rageous). This was a band with over-the-top wigs, crazy guitar antics and a vocalist who sounded like fingernails scratching all over a blackboard. That record was so out-fucking-rageous it existed beyond the normal parameters of good and evel.

Nitro have long ceased to be, so letís move on to the present and first solo album by Scottish guitarist and composer Fraser Edwards who also plays in power metal band Ascension and more recently with kid oriented metal band Sharky Sharky. While Ascension was really quite good music for adults, Sharky Sharky felt even more ground-breaking in doing something which has been rarely done before. And yet it is with I Am God, Fraser Edwardsí debut album of nine years in the making, that he really transcends everything he did before. The easy way to describe his music would be to see it as a mix between the seriousness of Ascension and the playfulness of Sharky Sharky, but the reality is a little more complex.

The first two seconds of the opener Alone start like a techno song, but then we get all of a sudden an incredibly fast guitar solo that is proof of Edwardsí shredding talent, and I wouldnít be surprised if he were right now one of the fastest guitar players alive. The vocals by Norwegian actor and singer Pellek are very catchy. His voice has a range of four octaves, and itís that with the insane guitar playing that made me think of Nitro, even though Fraser Edwards and his band donít seem to need spectacular wigs... but then itís not the Eighties anymore. Alone is incredibly catchy, and is thus a perfect example of the artistís power pop metal brand.

The following Custom Built doesnít even make it to two and a half minutes and is another joyfully bouncy pop metal track that once again juxtaposes the lightning fast guitar with the melodic vocals. Thatís more or less the modus operandi used on the album, with some songs managing to stand out even more. Best of all is 12 Variations (On Nyan Cat) Pt 1 - Edward Snowden, a metalized version of the famous meme with lyrics about the well-known whistleblower. I canít wait to hear the 11 other variations. Itís here where the clash between humour and technical genius is shown best. Everdreamís first minute is an incredibly ballad backed by acoustic guitar, but then all of a sudden the song gains momentum as if it were drawn into a black hole, and the double bass drum attacks are out of this world. The title track I Am God is another highlight where neo-classical speed metal is pairing up with catchy pop choruses, and for once this track is even making it over six minutes.

I can imagine that a lot of people will be clueless what to think of Fraser Edwards and his crazy antics on I Am God, but after the first week of its release date, the album struck like lightning in Japan, which is telling considering how progressive thinking that country is when it comes to trying totally new things with music. Like a sexed-down Babymetal with adult men instead of teenage girls, I Am God feels like cutest pop music played by a superluminal Yngwie Malmsteen. And if you can imagine that this is your kind of fun, then Fraser Edwards should be quite the revelation for you.

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