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Gregg Bissonette’s: Submarine

Nowadays, it’s not unusual to see fusion cats sharing hangs with chops-heavy rockers. Or, if you prefer the other angle, chops-heavy rockers dipping into the fusion waters. Drummer Gregg Bissonette’s Submarine (Favored Nations FN2010-2; 54:42) is studded with shred hotshots (Steve Stevens, Frank Gambale, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai) and non-shred notables (Robben Ford), all of whom get hard-blowing guest spots. This disc works as a fusion album mainly because it’s not a fusion album-it’s a rock album, even though it rocks in ways that put you in a 1989 state of mind. Tunes like the Kings X-ish “Submarine” and the power poppish “The Son Man” would still be on rock radio if that Nirvana thing had never happened a few years back. Robben Ford takes some liberties with the blues scale on “Cloudy Day,” while Steve Vai whips up his trademark note-souffle on the propulsive “Noah’s Ark.” Joe Satriani, on the other hand, turns in the date’s most affectingly tasty performance, on the reflective, waltz-time “Lum Lum,” playing off Bissonette’s vaguely Elvin Jones-ish rhythms.

Originally Published