Ghost Troopers in the Sky
Label: Radioactive Camel Records
This chops-proud Las Vegas prog-metal quartet's eight instrumentals average almost six minutes without sacrificing melody, groove or power. Designating guitars as "right channel" and "left channel" helps some, but the real secret is the rhythm's intercontinental bent, from the flamenco-sweating title jam to Santana-like tropical tinge of "Sofia" to Led Zep Mid-Easternisms in a hot "Kashmir" cover. As befits a band named after an Al Di Meola song, much of it qualifies as heavy fusion. But not even clear role models Mahavishnu ever thought to mash up "Ghost Riders In The Sky" with Iron Maiden.