Sea of Tranquility Review of Escape Velocity-
Scott Allen Project has been around since their debut album titled What Lies Beyond Words, released in 2006. From The Blindside (2009) and III (2015), my first exposure to the band, followed suit. The band is back with a new album, this time an EP titled Escape Velocity. The band is Scott Allen (electric guitar, 7 string electric guitar, acoustic guitar), Brian Kinney (bass guitar) and Tom Frost (drums and percussion). Special guest musician is none other than Derek Sherinian adding keyboards and organ.
I said it last time and I’ll say it again, Scott Allen is a very impressive guitarist. His signature axe slinging is all over this disc beginning with the first track “Hitting The Wall”. Sherinian also makes his presence felt adding some excellent organ work. Slowly winding guitar and faster rhythms make the heavy “The Tosser” another great track. The slower licks burn with emotion and the faster guitar pyrotechnics prove what an exceptional player Scott is. The tasty arpeggio guitar and faster fretwork in “Headed Due North” is really catchy as is the acoustic guitar in “Sunset”, another excellent track. The last track is a cover of the Aldo Nova tune “Fantasy” and the band does a great job bringing lots of energy into the mix.
My only complaint is the album’s brevity, which is of course what you’d expect from an EP. I just really wanted to hear this project burn through a few more tunes. Take that as a complement as Escape Velocity is another easy recommendation.
Rock Expert review of Escape Velocity-
Continuing his progressive musical journey in the new year, guitar maestro, Scott Allen has just released a new EP under his Scott Allen Project (SAP) in May 1st 2020. The new EP is entitled “Escape Velocity” which simply keen on showing a band that is currently hitting their strides and becoming such a force in the prog-rock realm.
The new EP consist of seven tracks, starting from 'Hitting the Walls', 'The Tosser', 'Headed Due North', 'Wrecked', 'Sunset', 'Taking the A Train', and 'Fantasy. SAP's reasoning in coming up with an EP as the follow up to their 2015 full length outing “III”, is because of the current change in today's music trend in which releasing a full album is no more a central part for any musicians' work. Trying to get into the game without notably disappointing their loyal devotees, unleashing this seven track mini album is certainly a wise decision to make.
Starting their escape with 'Hitting the Walls', the band seemingly trying to get everyone pumps up immediately with such hard and heavy metal piece with that touch of modern sound, hint of progressive movements along with melodic runs. 'The Tosser' brings out more fun kind of atmosphere with stronger rock-progressive approach into the track that offers a brighter feel for its listener. 'Headed Due North' started off with such lovely acoustic ballad stuff that brings out that comforting aura, before hitting a melodic hard rock anthem groove.
'Wrecked' puts an interesting dark kind of beginning before transferring into a slightly brighter atmosphere with some melodic runs, this track also offer that complex prog playing to create such heavy technical ambiance. 'Sunset' is another piece that showcase the melodic ballad ability from Scott as his melodies will sway its listener as if they're enjoying the gist of a sunset. Back to that metal approach, 'Take the A Train' seemingly set in taking everyone back into their prog metal ride from start to finish. This fine sounding EP is being closed with 'Fantasy' that brings out their rock progressive feel once again still with fine melodic runs throughout.
Starting things off back in 2006 with their first album “What Lies Beyond Words”, Scott Allen with Brian Frost (Drum) and Brian Kinney (Bass) keeps on going and once again showcasing their musical quality with such entertaining EP. Although only having seven tracks, but it's still a fulfilling musical adventure especially for those who enjoy prog rock and guitar instrumental stuff. Some tracks could even pass for an all around music lover enjoyment that can just accompany ones hectic or leisure day.
Having Derek Sherenian (Dream Theater/Sons of Apollo/Black Country Communion/Billy Idol) helping out on keyboard certainly put a stronger feel into that progressive atmosphere. Coming from his days at GIT (Guitar Institute of Technology) Scott certainly has come far now in interpreting his love of progressive music along with excellent guitar playing. In all this is a fun and exciting EP to check out and make sure to support Scott Allen Project's music, tour and other stuff.
Music Enthusiast Review of Escape Velocity-
A few words about the Scott Allen Project from their press kit: “SAP is an “Instrumental Progressive Hard Rock band based around Musician’s Institute (GIT) trained guitarist Scott Allen. Catching the guitar bug by discovering the magic of one Edward Van Halen at age 10, Scott dedicated his teen years to studying the electric guitar, and upon graduating high school he relocated south from his home of Sacramento to the fabled glitz of Hollywood.
Returning home, Scott recruited drummer Tom Frost and bassist Brian Kinney and began to hit the club scene. After many shows together Frank Hannon of Tesla offered to produce the first SAP album entitled What Lies Beyond Words. Scott Allen Project is releasing a new EP entitled Escape Velocity.”
The song ‘Wrecked’ constitutes some heavy-duty shit, cooks right along and is incredibly well-played. Progressive heavy metal minus the dopey lyrics:
Metal Express Radio review of Escape Velocity
The Scott Allen Project has released three full length albums since 2006. The band’s latest release is an EP. The band’s bio explains that it reflects the current trend of album format being less central and their desire to try something new. The music is described as their most progressive and diverse to date.
“Hitting The Wall” and “Wrecked” both benefit from featuring Derek Sherinian of Dream Theater/Sons of Apollo on keyboards. The former staggers forth with sludgy guitar laced with pinch harmonics. Eventually guitar solos are interjected and begin alternating with old school organ bursts similar to Steppenwolf’s Goldy McJohn. The latter pushes the complexity level up to Progressive levels with frequent tempo changes, innovative percussion and keyboard fills. These songs don’t create an expectation that vocals should be inserted at any time.
Other songs such as “The Tosser”, “Headed Due North” and “Taking The A Train” follow a more standard song structure where the lack of vocal accompaniment is more tangible. The first two share Joe Satriani’s frantic fret board style and the big riffs of 80s style arena anthems. The third sets itself apart with a bit of funk. ”Sunset” removes vocal expectation entirely by soloing constantly. A leisurely acoustic guitar and rhythm section supplies the canvas and the lead guitar’s brush never leaves it. Fortunately the paint runs out before the song paints itself into a corner.
Escape Velocity delivers as advertised on diversity and Progressive elements. Each song has a distinct style and they’re an enjoyable listen from start to finish. While individual songs may be derivative of genres and individual artists, there’s little stylistic repetition. Maintaining a listener’s attention without any vocal connection is challenging, but the Scott Allen Project makes it happen.
“If you enjoy rock and metal where the guitar is front and center and the playing is excellent, you should really enjoy III....Whether Allen is firing on all cylinders as in the blisteringly heavy "What Lies Beneath", which begins the album or the funkier "River Of Time" where the playing is less intense and just a little slower, the musicianship is never at the expense of a good melody making this a highly listenable instrumental album. Other highlights include the melodic "Dreaming" where Allen's slow burning lead work absolutely soars and the fine "Echoes Of Eternity" ending the album on a slower note with Allen's guitar lines demonstrating a precision and clarity that few musicians are able to attain” - Jon Neudorf
— Sea Of Tranquility
“ Scott Allen may not be a household name yet like Richie Blackmore, Eddie Van Halen or even Yngwie Malmsteen but he plays with all the fire, power and intensity of any of these legendary Guitar Gods. There’s no doubt to my ears or anyone who has heard anything Scott Allen has done to date that Scott Allen is a very talented Guitar hero on the rise that has the potential to be just as known as any Guitar hero out there right now who has ever graced the cover of Guitar World Magazine.......Scott Allen could have put out an album which was nothing but a SHRED FEST to show off how fast he can play thank god he instead decided to release an album that showcases all his talent and influences where fans get an album where all 10 tracks here really stand out on their own, we get an album where there is no filler material but rather a full length 10 song CD full of nothing but killer material! ” - Jason Houston
— Chaotic Riffs Magazine
“A fretboard frenzy feast for the guitar addicts and an eargasm for the Rock fanatics; that’s how I would sum it up! .........the High energetic instrumental Hard Rock is updated with many different colors, as Prog Metal/Latin Funk Metal (“River Of Time”) or Classic Rock (“The Texas Way”) very much in the same vein of Steve Vai/Joe Satriani and Co., with more edge and some episodic explosion of Metallic Shrapnels right in your ear (“My Aching Head”)!..........The flashy guitar fireworks and its blistering skills sparks are like magic spells (like in the Jeff Watson meets Vito Bratta two-hand tapping theme of “5th Street Strut”), but the real focus is around the compositions more than anything else, the virtuosic leads and the dazzling solos are the shred-cherry on the top of the seducing harmonies cake!” - Yngwieviking
— Metal Temple
“This is high class instrumental progressive/neo-classical power metal. The first couple of songs are quite heavy, but afterwards we can hear some lovely melodic pieces. Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Eddie van Halen and Dream Theater are clear influences and you can easily say that Scott is an amazing talent, who probably one day will join a major band, because he can deliver picture-perfect guitarwork from the heart.” - Strutter Magazine
— Strutter Magazine
“Allen is a very technical and eclectic guitar player that has precise domain of his instrument, which he may either maneuver with furious Neo-classical complexity, or just play with soften sensibility. He also may add some hellish Hard-Rock grooves or highly-inspired Fusion-Rock swings to his riffs. Allen is closely followed by his band mates, who domain all licks and tricks of Hard, Fusion, and Metal, giving perfect support to the guitar solos, at the same time adding spice, embellishments, and more swing to the sonic mixture. The tightly engaged trio performs excellent compositions – vibrant and dynamic – which, mostly important, are held in tight and neat arrangements, with each musician having his own share of importance inside the music. My favorite tracks are those endowed with a Heavy-Metal power, richly adorned with Neo-Classical guitar brocades, such as the furious “What Lies Beneath” (4:12), which opens the album with a verve reminiscent of the duo “Marty Friedman” & “Jason Becker” (and their project “Cacophony”); “Shake It” (5:30) – a stable guitar-rock cathedral built on a series of rocky Metal riffs, and windowed with stained-glass guitar solos in neo-classical style; and “My Aching Head” (3:47) – an aggressive Thrash-Metal-Fusion (that recalled me of the works of “Jeff Loomis”, the heaviest Metal stuff of “M. Friedman” & “J. Becker”, and “Testament” with “Alex Skolnick”). Equally catchy are the Hard-Rock/Fusion tracks “5th Street Strut” (4:14) and “Into the Light” (4:49), which combine electric energy, groovy riffs, and eclectic free-flowing guitar solos propelled by pulsing bass lines and sturdy rocky drumming, recalling the sound of “Satriani”. Highlights for the swinging bass lines of “5th Street …”, from which Allen decollates with his flying solos. Also following a Hard-Rock line, but verging the heritage of Blues-Rock (so approaching his idols “Van Halen”, “Le Tekrø”, “Sykes”, etc.), there are the uplifting “Inside Out” (5:34), driven by an adventurous pace; and “The Texas Way” (3:12), a 70’s Rock with a modern rhythmics way. For those inclined to lighter and most melodic dispositions, there are “River of Time” (4:10) (lively and groovy Fusion); and the half-acoustic ballads “Dreaming” (4:44) and “Echoes of Eternity” (5:10), both enlightened by soaring, sensitive solos. Full of Hard-Rocky punch, Metal initiative, and guitar acrobatics typical of the Fusion and Neo-classical styles, Scott Allen Project’s third album takes this amazing trio to a higher threshold in their career, being highly recommended for fans of “Van Halen”, “Joe Satriani”, “Steve Vai”, “Marty Friedman”, and all other monster-guitarists mentioned above. ” - Marcelo Trotta
— Progressive Rock BR
“With heavy riffs setting the tone for many of his compositions, Allen utilizes some great Jeff beck-like blues phrases, Van Halen-like aggression, and a full palate of shred chops.” - Mike Varney
— Guitar Player Magazine
“Scott Allen's What Lies beyond Words is striking evidence that his is a guitar voice worthy of mention alongside the current giants in the instrumental guitar arena. If you dig players like Satriani or Petrucci, especially at their most melodic, Scott Allen will be right up your alley.” - Bill Knispel