Almost a year has passed since Ol Drake made the reluctant decision to quit Evile, a band he had co-founded almost a decade earlier.
While his former colleagues continue with a replacement, the guitarist has been busy plotting the release of his solo debut.
Anyone expecting the reliable, Metallica-esque thrash of his former group is barking firmly up the wrong tree. Old Rake sees the Yorkshireman focus firmly on his instrument of choice. There are no vocals on its nine songs, which range from Han Valen, an affectionate, piledriving nod at his hero (think Eruption meets Hot For Teacher), to the strident, Satriani-esque Onions to the laid-back Emperor, which hints at Steve Vai in contemplative mood. Do you have to be a guitar nerd to appreciate Old Rake? Probably. However, with Mike Heller (Fear Factory) on drums and appearances from Slayer guitarist Gary Holt, James Murphy of Death, Testament and Obituary fame and Sylosis’s Josh Middleton, the musicianship is of the highest calibre.