FOR WORDS" REVIEWS
Strutter'zine. Review by Gabor Kleinbloesem.
" Multi-instrumentalist JEFFREY RYAN SMOOTS has a new CD out titled 'Loss
for Words'. The album is filled with high class instrumental Progressive
Melodic Rock with a Prog Metal touch here and there. It all sounds very
impressive and the fact that Jeffrey did everything on his own is making
this CD even more interesting. Songs like "Unearthly Ambition", "King
Lerxst" and "Zeta Principle" are great instrumental Progressive Melodic
rockers. Every guitar-freak should check out this awesome CD.
(Points: 8.0 out of 10)"
Dutch Progressive Rock Page, September, 2003. Review by Mark Hughes:
"Loss For Words is the fifth album from American multi-instrumentalist
Jeffrey Ryan Smoots (or JRS for short!). Following on from the 2001 Despair
To Peace, a classical album dealing with the death of a loved one, Loss
For Words, is a collection of 12 hard-edged, melodic, progressive rock
songs with the emphasis placed firmly on the guitar. Citing such six string
luminaries as Alex Lifeson, Ty Tabor and Yngwie Malmsteen as major influences
and being a fan of progressive bands such as Dream Theater and King's
X, it is not surprising that the album features a lot of heavy, and one
might add, accomplished guitar playing.
But, it is not all-out fretwork histrionics, the writing is strong, has
a high degree of melody and features some interesting twists and turns
that keeps the attention. JRS handles all the instrumentation on the album
- bass, keyboards, even live drums (although there are some programmed
drums in places). However, it is the guitar that takes prominence. From
the hard rock, multi-tracked onslaught on Mr Negativity, to the proto-grunge
of Zeta Principle to the harmonised melodies on King Lerxst, this album
has the lot for any discerning fan of the electric guitar. What is more,
it is highly original material to boot. Sure, the influences are apparent
in places, but just as you think that a track is settling down into, for
instance, a southern rock groove, it veers off at an expected tangent.
Although there are variations in tempo, personally I would have preferred
a few more laid back numbers to counteract some of the more 'in your face'
tracks. Ambergris (which, trivia fans, is actually the discarded linings
of sperm whale intestines used in the manufacture of perfume) is the closest
that you'll get to a ballad. With a keyboard/guitar intro that is reminiscent
of Michael Schenker-era UFO it has a hook line that will sit in your brain
for days. But mostly the solo guitar (which has a definite touch of the
Al Di Meola's about it) is left to soar over chunky riffs that some metal
bands wouldn't be ashamed of.
Overall, the album was quite a refreshing change. It was good to hear
a purely instrumental album that focused on short pieces. Although my
periods of listening to heavy music are getting further apart and 'progressive
metal' leaves me all but cold, JRS has come up with something that little
bit different that I am sure to want to revisit at regular intervals in
the years to come.
Conclusion: 7 out of 10"
Guitar Mania, October, 2003. Review by Mike Sandomirsky:
"Every once and a while something very exciting happens in the world of
Instrumental Guitar - an artist, usually a virtual unknown, creates something
so fresh and vibrant that it sets a new direction for the masses to try
and follow. To say that JRS - "Loss For Words" is that evolutionary link
would be in my opinion an understatement. Loss For Words is by far one
of the best releases to hit the underground music scene in a long, long
time. Full of progressive elements and influences that span generations
of recorded music. One can hear the intricate melodies of bands like Dream
Theater or Threshold throughout all the compositions. Melodic sensibilities
are showcased on all 12 tracks with an intertwining of sheer musical virtuosity
and unique vision.
Loss For Words is an intense, melodic mix of progressive heaven. Mr. Smoots
is an extremely accomplished all around musician. Handling all instrumentation
on the CD with the guitar taking the forefront. Smoots melds all all of
his insanely complex orchestrations together like a tight woven fabric
to produce intelligent, complex music that is never pretentious. Never
one to waste musical space, JRS knows how to construct an epic progressive
composition that clocks in at less than five minutes. From the get-go
Loss For Words offers up some very technical, yet always melodic, well
thought out compositions that strive to have something coherent to say.
Every note of every composition is placed in exactly the right place,
no excessive guitar wanking here, just perfectly constructed songs that
take the listener to a unique destination combining influences from prog,
metal, neo-classical, fusion and shred. All tracks feature exceptional
musicianship delivered with passion and sensitivity. For all you tone
connoisseurs, the entire CD is chock full of superbly crafted guitar tones
in a nicely produced very good sounding package.
Highlights of the CD include:
"King Lerxst" - harmonized melodies, great guitar runs. A beautiful progressive
smorg of guitar point, counterpoint.
"Double Star" - an introspective tune with loads of feel. A great keyboard/guitar
intro sets this song up for some superb melodic soloing over a heavy groove.
"Skyward" - a fusion/Prog masterpiece. A showcase of Smoots all around
musical talent. Tight delivery, absolutely huge harmonization's, shred
soloing - what more could a guitar lover want!!
Loss For Words far exceeds expectation, bordering on brilliant. Anyone
who is a fan of quality progressive music will find this release irresistible."
Now appearing in Guitar One magazine!
See Jeff and his black Dean
EVO Special Seven the new issue of Guitar
Check the monthly 'Fretbuzz' column.
Ryan Smoots (JRS) is a multi-instrumentalist/composer living in the Pacific
Northwest of Washington State, USA. Jeff plays guitar for the progressive
rock band Inner Resonance. Jeff's major guitar influences include Alex
Lifeson, Eric Johnson, Phil Keaggy, Yngwie Malmsteen, and Paul Gilbert.
Jeff is a fan of progressive rock music, particularly bands like Rush,
Kings X, Dream Theater and Fates Warning.
Jeff has been playing guitar for over sixteen years. In that time he's
independently released four albums, and paid his live 'dues' playing the
Seattle club circuit. He has been spotlighted in Guitar for the Practicing Musician
magazine. He's written guest columns for Guitar 9 Records and Sounduser.com.
His MIDI-based compositions appear on many websites throughout the Internet.
Jeff maintains an active presence on the Internet, hosting his own website
(www.jrsmoots.com), his band's website (www.iresonance.com), and artist
pages on MP3 (www.mp3.com/jrsmoots). He's had a number one MP3.COM instrumental
hit with his song "Intro", and has seen several of his other songs reach
the top 10 in their respective genres. In addition, Jeff maintains several
MP3.COM 'Radio' Stations devoted to progressive music, which as a unique
bonus feature not only music, but also one-on-one interviews with the
other prominent mp3.com artists.
Jeff is endorsed by Dean Guitar Musical Instruments, proudly playing the
Dean EVO Special 7. About Dean Guitars, Jeff says, "I'm blown away by the
quality, tone, and playability of these instruments. My EVO is literally a
joy to play. I think the overall craftsmanship that goes in to each Dean instrument is a mark of the company's commitment to quality, innovation, and value, And to
top it all off, the Dean line is priced so competitively, anyone considering a new
instrument owes it to themselves to try a Dean." Jeff is also endorsed by Sonic Implants (makers of Sonic Implant sound samples). Jeff runs his own project studio (Sci-Fi Studio), and recently authored Sonic Implant's "Rock Webpack" product,
a set of guitar-based sounds for use on websites and multimedia projects.