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The Aristocrats

Heavy Prog

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The Aristocrats You Know What...? album cover
3.81 | 63 ratings | 4 reviews | 10% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2019

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. D-Grade Fuck Movie Jam (6:31)
2. Spanish Eddie (6:56)
3. When We All Come Together (6:16)
4. All Said and Done (4:43)
5. Terrible Lizard (6:30)
6. Spiritus Cactus (5:59)
7. The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde (7:37)
8. Burial at Sea (6:35)
9. Last Orders (8:32)

Total Time 59:39

Line-up / Musicians

- Guthrie Govan / guitar
- Bryan Beller / bass
- Marco Minnemann / drums

Note : The actual instrumentation could not be fully confirmed at this moment

Releases information

CD Boing - BM 00009 (2019, US)

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy THE ARISTOCRATS You Know What...? Music

THE ARISTOCRATS You Know What...? ratings distribution

(63 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(10%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(56%)
Good, but non-essential (24%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

THE ARISTOCRATS You Know What...? reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars "The Aristocrats" is a Heavy Prog, powerhouse trio made up of guitarist Guthrie Govan, basist Bryan Beller, and drummer Marco Minnemann, who have had musical influences in quite a variety of genres from death metal to jazz. Since their formation, they have released 4 full length albums. Their fourth album, released in June of 2019, is called "You Know What??" The album features all 3 of the original members. The album is made up of 9 tracks, each one of the band members writing 3 of the tracks, which is typically the way they create music. The overall run-time is just short of an hour. The music is also all instrumental, yet still full of musical humor that a Zappaphile could appreciate.

The humor is evident right in the title of the first track "D-Grade F*ck Movie Jam", a 6 minute opener that starts right off with all the stops open and heavy with a funky guitar with plenty of "wah" effects and quirky rhythm. All three players are up front and personal with their instruments, playing at full bore. The music follows a melody played by the guitar with a lot of embellishment and variation, something a heavy-metal guitar god would be proud of. There is still plenty of room for everyone to shine here however, even with the guitar overpowering the others as the bass lines are amazing and so it the dynamic drumming. "Spanish Eddie" starts with a Spanish style riff playing in the guitar, but as the music settles in, it gets somewhat quirkier, but staying at a moderate pace. The Spanish flair continues even through the more progressive passages as they use the style to create a wild rhythm in which the drums can stand out. It mellows out towards the middle of the track, becoming almost jazz-like for a while. After this section concludes, the Spanish feeling comes right back and the original heaviness returns. This track is an amazing show case for everyone with an amazing sound with that Spanish vibe going for it.

"When We All Come Together" takes on a fast paced guitar finger picking heavy rock/country vibe that will make you feel like you are in the middle of a cowboy movie on steroids. Stomp your feet and yell "Yee-haw", by the end of this one you will feel like doing a drug enhanced line dance. And, holy cow grandma, listen to that high speed base. Love it! After 3 minutes, there is a sudden change of direction as it turns more progressive and leaning towards jazz fusion again. As it reaches 5 minutes, we return to the barn burning music complete with hand claps and I believe I detect a banjo in there too. At the end, the barn burns to the ground with a chaotic, noisy ending. "All Said and Done' gives you a bit of a breather because you'll need to catch your breath after that previous track. A nice melody is established by the guitar and elaborated on until the band kicks in. The tempo is moderate but with a walking lilt to it and the track remains a lot saner than the preceding tracks, but it's still very nice even with its increased accessibility. Cool bass solo too!

"Terrible Lizard" will make the metal heads happy, but will keep those that love a challenge interested too. The loud solidness returns with a vengeance now, evoking the heavy anger that is also prevalent in some of King Crimson's loud metallic solos with some challenging progressive riffs and rhythmic craziness, going places most guitar gods don't want to go. The progressiveness goes up even a notch further with "Spiritus Cactus" with a track that isn't as heavy, yet is so awesome that you won't even notice that. It starts upbeat, and keeps that pace even when nothing else is going on. This is like a stew of progressive styles, things thrown together that shouldn't work together, yet it does in a big way. Orchestral hits, clackers, tango percussion sounds, jazz guitar, driving rhythm, stop start sections, all thrown together into a crazy, entertaining mid- tempo track. Wait, I thought you said up tempo. Yeah I did. Prepare for a lot of styles in this one. Yet it all comes across quite coherent.

Coming up next, we get "The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde". It all starts out with a soft, loung-y vibe, soft jazz guitar with tinkling, soft percussion and soft bass, which suddenly intensifies bringing everything up a notch. After 2 minutes, everything takes off with a regular rhythmic and melodic style where all instruments stand out well and the guitar taking us into a swirling climax. Things calm down towards the middle again and build to a moderate rhythm while the guitar improvises along, building tension right up to the end where we come to a boiling climax. "Burial at Sea" starts off with bubbly sounds and an atmospheric feel in the chiming guitar. When you think you are in for a more atmospheric flotation device style track, the band suddenly kicks in, but things wander from heavy to soft easily, creating a variety of textures in one song, yet, remaining concise and logical. This track takes us in a lot of different directions, but never tries to drown us in technicality and doesn't compromise the melody for difficult, high-tech solos. There are some cool vocal effects thrown in there too just to keep things interesting and unique.

Just when you've heard it all, the last track comes along. "Last Orders" is the longest track at over 8 minutes. This track begins as a slow burner, a nice mix of tender guitar, strong bass and hesitant, yet soft drums. This is a nice throw back to a more soft Stevie Ray Vaughan style with just the right mix of Frank Zappa which adds just the right jazz feel to it. Just as you think you can settle into this peaceful track, the guitar blows it all wide open for a blistering solo and the band follows suit as it does so, and then leads them back to the softer sound again. After this track is over, you know you have been to pretty much every musical planet you could have a chance to visit in an hour and still remain sane.

You probably wonder how musicians like these three could be kept in hiding so long. Well, surely you've heard of "The Raven Who Refused to Sing", the amazing, excellent work by Steven Wilson, right? Both Gowan and Minnemann were on that album and in Wilson's band. Govan also worked with Asia, GPS, Hans Zimmer and several other bands, Minnemann also works with "The Mute Gods" as their current drummer and part of the prog supergroup "The Sea Within". Beller has also been around playing in Joe Satriani's band and also with Steve Vai, James LaBrie and Dweezil Zappa. So you definitely got quite a pedigree of musicians here, and as this album attests, they are adept in playing any style they want. The best thing about this album is the fact that there is so much variety here, that you never get tired of listening. In fact, the hour flies by before you know what happened. This album is full of surprises, mood swings, and plenty of progressive music that it should keep everyone happy, and these musicians don't fall into the same trap as many of their contemporaries by making music where one song sounds pretty much like the other. Every track here has it's own distinct personality and every song on this album is a highlight. Excellent album!

Review by kev rowland
4 stars Take three well respected musicians who came together purely by accident, add in a decision to only record together instead of sharing files, and only to release albums which are nine songs long with each musician bringing three to the party, then you may start to get an idea of what The Aristocrats are all about. Back with their fourth album, the guys are producing music which Zappa would have been proud of with a mindset and attitude which doesn't belong in this century and is all the better for it. The trio are of course guitarist Guthrie Govan (Asia/GPS, Steven Wilson, Hans Zimmer), bassist Bryan Beller (Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Mike Keneally, Dethlok) and drummer Marco Minnemann (Adrian Belew, UKZ, Steven Wilson, Joe Satriani, Necrophagist, Steve Hackett, plus 20 or so solo albums).

Musically it feels built and developed from the ground up, with each musician looking out for his mates so that it isn't actually possible to tell from just listening to the songs as to which one came from the guitarist, bassist or drummer. There is funky country with call and reply, jazz fusion, prog, and a whole load of music where they refuse to sit in any sort of pigeonhole and just do whatever the hell they like. It would be easy for any of them to go off and make the album all about them, but this really does feel like a group without any egos among them. It sounds as if the guys are having a blast in the studio, which comes through in the music which is great fun from start to end.

They shift, they flow, they groove, bringing in fretless bass and gentle sounds when the time is right or cranking it up when it needs that little bit more boost. Some instrumental albums can sound the same throughout, or can be boring to the extreme, but here the guys really want you to move, react, and have just as much fun as they are. Now if only someone can explain the chicken and two pigs on the CD cover, but maybe I don't really want to know.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
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?)

Latest members reviews

4 stars The band was born almost as a joke eight years ago. The stellar trio, composed by the excellent guitar player and composer Guthrie Govan, the eclectic and funny virtuoso drummer Marco Minnemann and the wonderful and empathic Bryan Beller on basses, has finally reached the 4th album. Never abandon ... (read more)

Report this review (#2284143) | Posted by progpromoter | Tuesday, November 26, 2019 | Review Permanlink

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