The Chris Allen Project comes our way by no other than Chris Allen himself, who saw that coming? An ambitious sort, the disc he submitted entitled Trouble on the Horizon was fully recorded and performed by him. He did use an actual drum machine for all rhythm sections but to his credit he programmed each particular rhythm. I am going to assume that the local scene has a shortage of drummers? If not Chris, you need to get out immediately and find a competent drummer because no matter how expensive of a drum machine you buy, the rhythms will always come across mechanical and lack the human quality that music of this genre demands. The actual recording must have been done on his PC or quite possibly a VS880, the instruments do possess definition and are separated quite well but all and all it does have that homegrown feel.
Allen's particular field of expertise is that of the guitar hero/progressive. Following ever so close to the easy comparison of Steve Vai, Joe Satriani and quite possibly Eric Johnson. Allen has assembled six original songs, Trouble on the Horizon, C-Ya, Fly, The Funk Shop, Disturbing the Peace, and Ty.
Each song within itself does embody certain impressive qualities, but for the most part it's all about shredding the lead. Allen is well schooled on the fret board and does shine through blindingly, but for this particular field of music and also the reason we do not hear from more players breaking through is strictly because it is such a demanding type. The players are so extreme and have mastered almost every aspect of the guitar you literally have to spend 15-20 hours a day living your instrument. Again I say Allen is in the right direction and does play hybrid wad-blowing leads but it seems to lack that certain "incredible" trait of the aforementioned. Chris have you only been putting in 8 hours a day?
I truly believe Allen does have the makings to be a phenomenal guitar player, each song within Trouble on the Horizon is well thought out and does incorporate superincumbent styling but for Allen to be the player I am sure he longs to be it will just take the immense determination and drive that past masters have endured. The strongest points of the disc came way of track 3 and 6, Fly and Ty. Allen uses an acoustic to set the rhythms and then proceeds to of course lead over them. What I found different about these tracks was that he laid back a little more and truly played soulful notes with each one leaving more of an overall lasting impression. The feel was much more inspirational and heartfelt as opposed to just ripping as many notes as his fingers can muster.
Bottom Line: Trouble on the Horizon was an interesting listen but Allen is not playing anything we haven't heard before. I do play guitar and can appreciate his technique and skill but in the end shredding leads isn't always what it's about. Sometimes it's about pure emotion nothing more. My point is, choose your compositions carefully, make each one of your notes touch the soul verses using certain ones just for filler.