PAUL GILBERT – Fuzz Universe

  • 9/10
    PAUL GILBERT - Fuzz Universe - 9/10


Shrapnel Records
Release Date: 2010-08-03

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Paul Gilbert (Racer X, Mr. Big) lives in a Fuzz Universe, or as he puts it himself: “Every generation of guitar players has their own terminology for the Rock guitar sound: Distortion, Overdrive, Gain, Crunch, Saturation, Drive etc. For me, the word is FUZZ.” Fuzz Universe is the third guitar driven instrumental solo album from Gilbert, and fans of Instrumental Rock have no reason to be disappointed over this release.

The songs on this album aren’t of the obvious “Heavy-Metal-guitarist-goes-solo”-style. They are more of the basic Hard Rock style that’s more typical of Joe Satriani’s solo releases, though Gilbert’s focus is more technically based and more inspired by Baroque music than Satriani. You can especially hear this on the Baroque-piece “Bach Partita in Dm” which is a straight-out classical piece played solely by electric guitar. According to Gilbert he was listening a lot to Bulgarian Female Choir music, Baroque lute and violin pieces, Johnny Cash songs about trains, cows, mules, and mining coal, the Bee Gees, and Ronnie James Dio while writing this album. This has undoubtedly contributed to the album’s diversity.

The diversity is precisely what makes this album so interesting. Instrumental albums can at times be a bit boring, as they seem to lack diversity and are all about the guitar masturbation, but Gilbert keeps it interesting by mixing it up a bit. Songs like “Fuzz Universe,” “Blue Orpheus” and “Propeller” are all contributors to this, and are the biggest highlights on this album. On the latter be prepared to also be exposed to keyboard and bass lead parts in a song that’s heavily Jazz-inspired. “Batter Up” has a more Blues/Traditional Rock N’ Roll feel to it, and the crossover factor is large on this album.

This album is foremost an album by a musician for other musicians. Gilbert sometimes loses himself in the instrumental parts, and this might seem weird and a bit uninteresting for people that don’t play an instrument themselves. Though some of it can be defined as guitar masturbation he often plays melody lines that cover for the lack of vocals on the album, and he balances on a fine line between these melody lines and more technically based guitar solos.

Though Fuzz Universe continues in the same pattern as his previous two instrumental solo albums, this one isn’t as heavy or Metal-based as those were. For instance, you won’t find a song like “The Gargoyle” (off Silence Followed By A Deafening Roar, 2008) on this record. Instead other elements in his music are explored and you’ll see a whole new side to his songwriting skills. It seems Gilbert has grown more comfortable with his role as an instrumental solo artist and with this album ratifies his position as one of the biggest guitar players out there, and probably one of the most technical skilled one of them as well.


Fuzz Universe/Olympic/Count Juan Chutrifo/Bach Partita in Dm/Blue Orpheus/Will My Screen Door Stop Neptune/Propeller/Don’t Rain On My Firewood/Plastic Dracula/Blowtorch/Mantra The Lawn/Batter Up


  • Kristian Singh-Nergård

    Kristian is one of the partners at Metal Express Radio. He is Metal Express Radio's Marketing and Communications Manager, and on occasions also reviewer and photographer. Based out of Oslo, Norway, Kristian is a bass player and owner of the independent record label Pug-Nose Records. He has been a proud member of the Metal Express Radio crew since 2006.

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