Before Mr. Big, guitarist Paul Gilbert was in RACER X on Mike Varney’s Shrapnel Records. The label was known for it’s hyper-focus on shredding guitars and Gilbert was, and is, one of the best in the business.
Gilbert’s jaw-dropping performance is one every guitarist should listen to. The music and production are dated to some degree, but the playing still stands up. In fact, that’s the main reason to listen as the songs are average quality as far a lyrics and choruses go.
Jeff Martin does a nice job on the vocals, but unfortunately the production hurts the overall quality of the album. On a side note, Martin is equally as proficient drummer as he is a singer, a feat you don’t see very often.
When Gilbert went onto Mr. Big a few years later he seemed to loose some of his clout as a Shredding Metal player, but I don’t think he’s overly concerned with that. His solo work is more Progressive than Metal, and after RACER X he didn’t seem as concerned with blistering speed.
As I mentioned earlier, it’s work another listen just for Gilbert’s work, but it’s still an early form of Power Metal. I think it’s safe to say that RACER X was influence on the genre that’s still heard around the world in many different countries.
Jeff Martin – vocals
Paul Gilbert – guitar
Harry Gschoesser – drums
John Alderete – bass