After going a more traditional rock & roll route on his last album, 2009's United States (which featured singer Freddie Nelson), Paul Gilbert gets back to his shred roots on 2010's Fuzz Universe. In fact, you could say that Fuzz Universe is the polar opposite of its predecessor, as not one iota of vocals is featured. And since it's an all-instrumental outing, the focus is 100 percent on Gilbert's fleet fingers. Gilbert certainly turns the clock back to a time when it seemed like just about every guitar player on the rock scene was eager to show off his technical skills on the instrument (in other words, the mid- to late '80s, when the likes of Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, and Yngwie Malmsteen were consistently magazine cover stars). And you'll discover this approach right from the get-go, as evidenced by the turbocharged album-opening title track, and continuing on with "Bach Partita in Dm" (which will catch the attention of classical metal buffs) and "Blowtorch" (which will do the same for '80s pop metalheads). Throughout the years, Gilbert has been very vocal about being a great admirer of Todd Rundgren, and he confirms this once and for all by covering a Rundgren tune, "Blue Orpheus." Gilbert has proven over the years to be one of the few '80s-era speed demons possessing an appreciation of melody and songwriting, and he covers all the bases on Fuzz Universe.
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AllMusic Review by Greg Prato