Review: Drew Peterson – Zero Mantra

Introduction: Drew Peterson is an unknown to many but should become loved after checking out his debut solo album that has taken him half of my lifetime to finish. Here’s a short write up by the man himself on what the album is and who it should appeal to:

“Thirteen tracks of instrumental rock, spanning about 67 minutes, and likely to appeal to fans of Joe Satriani, Andy Timmons, John Petrucci, or anyone who’s ever joked about how my album will never be released.”

The album is interesting in that it is diverse but still manages to have everything feel connected. From bluesy bends, to some long ass shred runs, and even giving us some groovy ass riffs. Drew Peterson somehow manages to have these diversities in his playing yet it never seems forced or as a caricature of said styles.

One of the biggest issues currently in the instrumental guitar scene is the lack of good songwriting skills. Most guys are aiming to show off theirs “talent” by shredding your face off. Drew Peterson can play his ass off, EX) 2:30 in Red Skies, but he decides to give us the nuances that are missed in the current overcompressed guitar tone world.

Solo albums in general can be a boring idea since most musicians use it as an opportunity to write jam tracks and then to just show their skills over it. But Peterson has songs where sometimes the bass and drums will feel like they are actually leading the song. Even at some points having no guitars playing in certain sections.

Now I wouldn’t call this a progressive album, it’s actually rather simple at times, but his songwriting and catchy/singable melodies make this a GOOD album. It’s really refreshing to hear some blues influences in modern music since those are starting to go away more and more as the years come by.

The album is strong in many ways but one of the things that personally bothers me is that I feel that some of the legato runs go on too long for me. I do understand that this is an instrumental album and that it can be difficult to balance the melody vs soloing so it’s nothing something I’m going to penalize him for. The drum programming can also be too in the pocket at times and I wished it would have more variation going on.

At some points I actually hoped that he would stick more to the heavier vibes and riffs that he writes since those moments are awesome. A double album from Drew Peterson would actually be interesting since he can write fluently in so many styles.

The acoustic version of “Alien Love Child” to close out the album was a brilliant move since it not only brings back that sweet melody but gives us a sense of resolution after the journey started in the intro of “Whiskey & Laudanum”.

Overall I found this album very enjoyable and look forward to whenever he will finish his next one if I’m alive to see it (lol).

If you’ll like to read up more on his gear (he has awesome guitars) check out his personal website at:

On February 22 2015, this entry was posted.
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