Rusty Cooley: Rusty Cooley-2003.

Rusty Cooley: Instrumental Heavy Metal from United States.


Rusty CooleyFull-length2003


Matt SmithDrums
See also: Defining Human, ex-Outworld
Rusty CooleyGuitars (2001-present)
See also: Day of Reckoning, ex-Outworld, ex-Book of Reflections

One thought on “Rusty Cooley: Rusty Cooley-2003.

  1. hells_unicorn, December 26th, 2008

    There is a sizable collection of god-like shredders out there violating the grave of Kurt Cobain, but unfortunately most of them have been at it for quite a long time, long before sucking at your instrument became a prerequisite for rock stardom, and very few of those wave the proud banner of the USA. Enter a rising star in 2002 from the great land of southern pride Georgia named Rusty Cooley, already having carried endorsements from reputable names like Jackson guitars and Seymour Duncan pick-ups, and promoting a style of playing thought to be lost to the world of American metal save a few guitar clinics done by Michael Angelo Batio and the G3 tour. He essentially lives by the motto of “never follow the trends”, and lives up to it completely as the contents of his self-titled, instrumental metal debut act as though the mainstream rock that occurred between 1992 and 2002 never existed.

    Despite the dark and heavy character that this album carries via Cooley’s employment of a 7-string guitar, the character of most of these songs is undeniably 80s. The lead presentation clearly points of a healthy diet of Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Vai, and Tony MacAlpine, meshed with some occasional references to one of his older idols Randy Rhodes, mostly on slower melodic passages. The riffs tend to echo this tendency, mostly in the direction of Malmsteen, but occasionally when the lower register of the 7-string is employed things get a little bit more modern sounding. Thankfully this never manifests itself in anything that resembles nu-metal, but more of a slight shade of darkness typical to what is heard on Nocturnal Rites albums being put out at this time, but in more of a retro-speed metal fashion akin to Priest’s “Painkiller”.

    Memorable and familiar themes play a vital role in this being accessible to anyone looking to emulate all of the greats, and here everything is well accounted for. The opener “Under The Influence” definitely got some help from the classic Yngwie hit “I’ll See The Light Tonight”, though it is presented more along the lines of Rising Force debut album and a much heavier ended production. “The Butcher” and “War Of The Angels” veer somewhat closer to a “Facing The Animal” style of slower and sludgy grooves that further exploit the versatile and underrated power of the lower range of the 7-string guitar. The easy going and catchy anthem “Jazzmine’s Song” sees Cooley completely abandoning the neo-classical model for something relatively close to Marty Friedman’s solo material, though the background material bears a little bit of comparison to Malmsteen’s “Fire and Ice”.

    Although not limited to the already established dogmas of neo-classical shred laid down by his highness lord Malmsteen, Cooley is mindful of keeping the metallic side of his music at the forefront even when he ventures into untraditional waters. Even when pulling out a novelty work full of neo-tonal scale runs in “Hillbilly Militia”, there are riffs aplenty and that driving speed that separates metal from hard rock. Combine this with a bunch of off the cuff rhythmic turnarounds that somehow manage to stay in 4/4 and a dark presentation via a 7-string guitar, and you begin to picture an army of beard toting, shotgun wielding, 12 toothed mountain men marching out to kick them some Yankee ass.

    There’s a lot to be said for this album’s unique take on shred, as well as Cooley’s extremely fast and flashy approach to the detailing, but nothing tells it better than the album itself. Along with the mid-90s studio offerings of Malmsteen, this impressive collection of guitar oriented compositions presents the vintage shred style established in the 80s quite well blended with the louder production practices of late. Cooley has definitely delivered the goods here, giving the old guard of the fine art of shredding a run for their money, and reminding everyone that the 7-string guitar is capable of a lot more than the goofy, quasi-Primus inspired dribble that Korn has been sullying the sound waves with since 1994.

    Originally submitted to ( on December 26, 2008.


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