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The Aristocrats - You Know What...? CD (album) cover


The Aristocrats


Heavy Prog

3.81 | 63 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars Fine musicianship over some surprisingly aggressive and surprisingly schizoid and eclectic musical styles. One of those albums that I appreciate but feel little draw to return to.

1. "D-Grade Fuck Movie Jam" (6:31) 70s-ish guitar pyrotechnics with strums and wah pedal while the rhythm section holds steady beneath. Sounds like 1970s Jeff Beck, Alvin Lee, or Rory Gallagher. (9/10)

2. "Spanish Eddie" (6:56) opens with some very fast guitar arpeggiations tightly wound with bass and fairly laid-back though mirroring drums. To my ears, the "Spanish" element has more to do with a similarity of sound and style to some of AL DI MEOLA's work over the years. Turns into a flashy 1960s blues rocker in the middle before using a Spanish chord strum sequence to bridge into an onslaught of heavy Southern rock. (13.5/15)

3. "When We All Come Together" (6:16) opens like an old ADRIAN BELEW and/or MARK KNOPFLER Mississippi blues railroad rock song. Admirable skill (8.25/10)

4. "All Said And Done" (4:43) another display of Guthrie Govan's surprising penchant for southern rock country blues. A Charlie Daniels or LYNNYRD SKYNYRD tribute! (8/10)

5. "Terrible Lizard" (6:30) lumbering, lurching, squealing, screaming music to fulfill the song's title. Nice team work on this technically demanding composition. The second half is more Guthrie's show piece over the restraint of the others. (8.5/10)

6. "Spiritus Cactus" (5:59) last time I heard jazz fusion like this it was in 1977 at the hands of Jeff Beck and Jan Hammer in an antiquated music hall whose ceiling plaster was falling on stage whenever Jan hit some outrageously deep bass note on his shoulder-strapped Lync keyboard. (8.75/10)

7. "The Ballad Of Bonnie And Clyde" (7:37) a rocker in the Steve Vai vein that sounds all-too familiar on many counts: style, sound, rhythm structure, and melody. (12/15)

8. "Burial At Sea" (6:35) very pleasant aquatic opening with strumming guitar, warbling low-end bass, but breaks into full-on heavy prog guitar play at the one minute mark. Microtonal guitar notes separate the full-body of the section in which female vocals seem to sing "fa-fa-fa-fa." Back and forth between heavy and delicate with some nice guitar soloing in the fourth minute. (8.75/10)

9. "Last Orders" (8:32) a gentle blues-jazz piece sounding like something from DIRE STRAITS, HIRAM BULLOCK, or JAN AKKERMAN. Fine craftsmanship from the two strings players over the first three minutes. Then things amp up into more of a display of premier 1980s metal works for a minute before returning to the soft fluid sounds of the opening three. A full-on Mark KNOPFLER display beginning at the end of the fifth minute. Nice! (18/20)

Total time 59:39

The lessons herein are that these are three fine musicians--especially that man of many hats and styles, Guthrie Govan.

Four stars; an excellent collection skillfully performed, wildly varied music that we'll call "progressive rock" for lack of a better term--none of which is really my cup of tea anymore. (World-blues-jazz-rock-metal fusion?)

BrufordFreak | 4/5 |


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