FOOL'S GAME is the brain-child of guitarist/song-writer Matt Crooks. Having been part of the long running local Virginia band DIVISION that released three CDs and played hundreds of shows, he decided to leave the band he founded to pursue new musical directions. Without any preconceived ideas for direction he was able to write songs purely for his own enjoyment, and not for any specific market or sound.

After a few songs had been written, Crooks played them for Matt Johnsen (PHARAOH) who was just about to record a new CD at Crooks' MCR Studios. Johnsen expressed an interest in participating in the project and began to help searching for other musicians

Crooks and Johnsen discussed several drummers, but John Macaluso (ex-YNGWIE MALMSTEEN, ex-TNT, ex-ARK) was the first name that came up in any conversation. Johnsen saw Macaluso at a summer cookout and approached him about the project. Macaluso expressed interest in the project as well, and after hearing a demo of the songs, he agreed to participate.

The next step was to find a singer for the project. A long time participant in the US progressive and power metal scene, Crooks began contacting the friends he had made through the years. A few emails to European based Intromental Management and a few demo songs later, Danish vocalist Lars F. Larsen (MANTICORA) signed up for the project.

The final piece of the puzzle fell into place when Crooks contacted his good friend Nick van Dyk (REDEMPTION) about playing keyboards for the project. Nick was very excited about the band, and quickly agreed to be a part of it.

Once the recording sessions began it was clear that this was no longer a one man project. Each member was given free reign to expand on the songs, and each contributed their own touch to the songs. Johnsen's melodic solo's and harmonies highlight the songs "When The Beginning Meets The End" and "As The Field Of Dreams Was Abandoned". Macaluso's jazz inspired drumming brings a rhythmic texture to "The Wilds Swans At Coole" that is seldom heard in power metal. Crooks' bass and rhythm guitars are in complete lock-step with Macaluso providing the perfect foundation for van Dyk's keyboards, which weave in and out of the songs, at times adding atmosphere and other times a definite progressive twist. However, the clear stand out of FOOL'S GAME are the impassioned vocals of Larsen. In one of the best performances of his career, Larsen delivers melodies that are memorable, immediate and dripping with raw emotion.

"Reality Divine" features nine tracks of progressive tinged power metal that is sure to please fans of both genres. With tracks ranging from the epic "The Conqueror Worm", which features a guest appearance by vocalist Tim Aymar (CONTROL DENIED/PHARAOH), to the straight forward power of "Mass Psychosis", to the emotive "Sowing Dead Seeds", the debut from FOOL'S GAME is one not to be missed.


Lars F. Larsen - vocals
Matt Crooks - guitars/bass
Matt Johnson - guitars
Nick van Dyk - keyboards
Hunter Ginn - drums

Worldwide: Cruz del Sur Records

2009 - Reality Divine