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The Aristocrats - The Aristocrats CD (album) cover

THE ARISTOCRATS

The Aristocrats

 

Heavy Prog

3.76 | 70 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Starhammer
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Freshly baked...

It's been six long years since Guthrie Govan released his debut album. With no solo activity since then and some disappointing collaborations with Asia and GPS I had almost given up hope on this phenomenal guitarist.

But then along came The Aristocrats, a three-piece instrumental outfit consisting of Govan, Bryan Beller on bass, and Marco Minnemann on the drums. The band was formed after a single performance at The NAMM Show lead to more gigs, and ultimately this debut record, which features three tracks from each member

Despite being entirely instrumental and containing elements of jazz rock, 'The Aristocrats' is not 'Erotic Cake Part 2'. The sound is quite different, it seems to be more focussed. In terms of guitar, there is not such as broad spectrum of styles, but it remains creative and engaging throughout. That's not to say that it's completely tied down though, I am reminded of Jeff Beck or Trey Anastasio at times, whilst the slower paced Flatlands has an Eric Johnson vibe to it.

Guthrie Govan has a reputation for his fast playing, and whilst there are moments of shredding on 'The Aristocrats', they come in tasteful, short bursts. But that's enough of Govan, I make it sound like the other two are his backup band! Far from it, Bryan Beller is an outstanding bassist who has played with the likes of Mike Kenneally and Steve Vai, whilst Marco Minnemann was about two hairs away from joining Dream Theater. Individually, they sit amongst the best musicians around, but its what they achieve together which is so important here.

The chemistry is just incredible, simple riffs lay the foundation for cohesive improvisation. At times busy, but never claustrophobic. Killer hooks aplenty, but not immediately accessible. The sparse interplay on tracks like I Want a Parrot is absolutely captivating, this is not something you can stick on in the background and hope to appreciate, it really demands attention.

The Verdict: An extremely fun, slightly challenging album that evolves with every listen.

Starhammer | 4/5 |

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