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The Aristocrats - The Aristocrats CD (album) cover

THE ARISTOCRATS

The Aristocrats

Heavy Prog


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4 stars I'm a fanboy of Guthrie Govan. I think he is one of the best guitarists of our century, maybe the best. His melodies are so strong that you can't call him a shredder. On this album, he shows us that he can play like a true jazz guitarist. He's also so good at rock, blues and even metal. So he gets the music on a crazy mood by a rock riff of his kind sometimes, or just shredding like hell. But his control over melodies and notes makes you love his shredding. So yes, Guthrie Govan is a guitarist with every good quality that I can think off. He's hardworking, loving the music itself, and so talented. On this album, you can experience everything that I just wrote. He's got even better since his solo album "Erotic Cakes" of 2006.

Marco Minnemann is an amazing drummer. I didn't know that he's so good at jazz drumming, but he is. And he also contributes highly to the harder sound of the album, where the music goes rock/metal from jazz. Bryan Beller is also great. His melodies sound unique, and work so well with the sound of the album.

With all this great players, one don't expect a synergy like this. But these three talented men are made for each other! They love and dream the same music. They put out an incredible piece of jazz/rock fusion. Highly recommended.

Report this review (#617172)
Posted Monday, January 23, 2012 | Review Permalink
Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Eclectic Prog Team
3 stars The Aristocrats is a heavy rock and jazz fusion power trio from around the world. The music here tends toward playful fun but incoherence. This is a series of lengthy albeit sophisticated jams full of incredible technical proficiency but lacking any memorability.

"Boing!. I'm in the Back" Distorted guitar and an odd rhythm adopt a quirky drive in this opener. Eventually, it boasts a bit of progressive surf rock. I appreciate the softer side the band takes on during the middle passage.

"Sweaty Knockers" Interesting title aside, the music here switches from aggressive rock to smooth jazz in a matter of mere moments. The guitarist gyrates through heavy metal shredding and country rock twang.

"Bad Asteroid" Velvety guitar begins this calmer venture. It's rather similar to "Walking the Plank" by Celtic rockers Bad Haggis.

"Get it Like That" This fourth piece stays in that laidback jazzy mode, but there's more of an urgency about this one.

"Furtive Jack" The band offers a degree of variety on this Caribbean-inspired excursion. It blends silky jazz with grittier leads. There's an excellent bass solo to be found here.

"I Want a Parrot" Slow and swinging, I find this lengthy tune to be somewhat similar to material from David Gilmour's On an Island. There's plenty of screaming guitar and grooving bass here to go around. The judicious drummer does an incredible job giving the music precisely what it needs, even if it means sitting it out for a bit.

"See You Next Tuesday" Initially of an avant-jazz-rock piece, this one tends to be harder to follow until it settles into a heavy groove upon which the guitarist has a field day.

"Blues Fuckers" This unfortunately titled piece is just all over the place and is only really bluesy in the beginning and the end.

"Flatlands" The final piece is clean, slow-paced blues that is reminiscent of some of Eric Johnson's smoother work- a placid ending to an otherwise frenetic album.

Report this review (#760537)
Posted Wednesday, May 30, 2012 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#784459)
Posted Sunday, July 8, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars If the cat got their tongue, it does not care, Aristocats could play without any vocals, and they will catch your ear. Actually my personally favorite into instrumental heavy rock, The Aristocrasts is the heavy prog at its finest. Highly into jazz fusion and improvisation, this power trio includes Guthrie Govan at guitars, Brian Beller at bass, Marco Minnemann at drums.The performance of each one is very strong. Guthrie Govan is one of the best guitarists at this right moment, and the beautiful, creative riffs and harmonies at The Aristocrats makes me trip into my own mind. The bass and drums are powerful as a heavy prog should be. I can't highlight any track, since I love the whole album. The frist track is the weirdest, but it's actually pleasent for me. Every heavy prog, jazz fusion listener and musician must check this album.
Report this review (#960541)
Posted Friday, May 17, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars When you hear the name Marco Minnemann, it is synonym of an excellent and passionate drummer. When you hear the name Guthrie Govan, it is synonym of an excellent and virtuoso guitar player. When you hear the name Bryan Beller, it is synomym of an excellent and accurate bass player. Put them together and guess what you obtain? Yes, the aristocracy of music. The Aristocrats have managed to assemble an excellent album full of fusion and long jams. The three of them show a mastery in performing their instruments. The album itself is good, even though the tracks are not memorable. That's why my rating of 3 stars. Do not forget that 3 stars in this page is quite a good grade, considering the great difficulty to reach the top and classic albums. Maybe I need to listen to the album a bit more to see if I can feel attached to it. However, it is really recommendable for your ears, an album you should never skip, especially having these masters involved.
Report this review (#1007711)
Posted Sunday, July 28, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars Good album, but I think that it left much to desire. Mostly in all the songs, they show an excellent techinique, a beautiful performance, but thats it, nothing more. I mean, it is like if they have all the pieces but, at the end, doesn't match, to put the pieces together and start building something. In my opinion it is like if everyone was playing by herself and then they mix their sounds. Besides, in some moments appears to me like if they spend all their ideas in two or three songs, and the rest of them where only modifications of the first one's. Despite of all that, it is good to hear, to enjoy the talent all these three musicians have, and be delight with the differents sound they can make with their instruments.
Report this review (#1426276)
Posted Friday, June 12, 2015 | Review Permalink

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