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THE ARISTOCRATS

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The Aristocrats picture
The Aristocrats biography
Founded in 2011

THE ARISTOCRATS is a heavy progressive rock collaboration between well-known musicians guitarist Guthrie GOVAN, bassist Bryan BELLER, and drummer Marco MINNEMANN. The band had an unusual start, being the accidental bi-product of one of those virtuoso-happy NAMM collaboration shows, except GOVAN was a last minute replacement for fellow fusion legend Greg HOWE. BELLER and MINNEMANN were impressed by the material they had heard of GOVAN's, so they asked him if he wanted to play the NAMM show after HOWE had to drop out due to a last minute obligation. GOVAN obliged, and the roots of THE ARISTOCRATS were sown.
The three guys, comprised of an underground guitar hero, a well-known and respected clinician drummer, and a popular live and session bassist, were separated by a few thousand miles between London (GOVAN), Nashville (BELLER), and San Diego (MINNEMANN), yet the three still managed to pull off a 6-song set at NAMM, which got the three talking about the chemistry which they shared on and off stage.

Photo by Jessi Ramone

It didn't take long for a band to form, and immediately after the first gig the three began to talk of more shows and eventually an album. As creativity began to flow and songs began to be written, it became clear the very interesting combination of styles in which the three musicians came from, ranging from jazz to death metal, would eventually come down to an interesting style of jazz-fusion oriented hard rock, taking plenty of influence from 70s giants such as RETURN TO FOREVER, MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA, KING CRIMSON, and UK to virtuoso musicians such as Steve VAI and Joe SATRIANI, to the experimental complexities of Frank ZAPPA and so much more. Eventually, however, the band finally took it all and put it into a single output - their debut self-titled album which was released mid-late 2011.

::::Andy Webb::::

In 2012, the band went on tour over the world, one of those shows was captured on DVD. In 2013, they released another album "Culture Clash" with a more aggressive sound. Then, another very long tour (109 dates)across US, Europe and Asia which was again documented on a live DVD, released in 2015. The band released in 2015 another album "Tres Caballeros" with a more mature sound while keeping their funny side.

Updated by rdtprog

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Buy THE ARISTOCRATS Music


You Know WhatYou Know What
Boing 2019
$12.23
$12.11 (used)
Tres CaballerosTres Caballeros
Boing 2015
$12.07
$12.11 (used)
Culture Crash LiveCulture Crash Live
Boing 2015
$14.99
$9.99 (used)
The AristocratsThe Aristocrats
Boing 2011
$13.69
$9.04 (used)
Culture ClashCulture Clash
Limited Edition
Boing 2013
$12.99
$11.79 (used)
Boing Well Do It Live!Boing Well Do It Live!
Boing! 2013
$40.99 (used)
Secret Show: Live in OsakaSecret Show: Live in Osaka
Belle Antique 2015
$36.19
$39.12 (used)
Aristocrats | Tres Caballeros Deluxe | CD+DVD by Aristocrats (2015-05-04)Aristocrats | Tres Caballeros Deluxe | CD+DVD by Aristocrats (2015-05-04)
Boing! Music
$43.98
$37.31 (used)

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THE ARISTOCRATS discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

THE ARISTOCRATS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.76 | 118 ratings
The Aristocrats
2011
3.78 | 119 ratings
Culture Clash
2013
3.71 | 83 ratings
Tres Caballeros
2015
3.81 | 41 ratings
You Know What...?
2019

THE ARISTOCRATS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.61 | 23 ratings
BOING, We'll Do It Live!
2012
3.94 | 15 ratings
Culture Clash Live!
2015
4.14 | 7 ratings
Secret Show: Live In Osaka
2015

THE ARISTOCRATS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

THE ARISTOCRATS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

THE ARISTOCRATS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

THE ARISTOCRATS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 You Know What...? by ARISTOCRATS, THE album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.81 | 41 ratings

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You Know What...?
The Aristocrats Heavy Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

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?)

 You Know What...? by ARISTOCRATS, THE album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.81 | 41 ratings

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You Know What...?
The Aristocrats Heavy Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

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.

 You Know What...? by ARISTOCRATS, THE album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.81 | 41 ratings

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You Know What...?
The Aristocrats Heavy Prog

Review by progpromoter

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 abandoning the ironical vein of the musical compositions (as an example listen to 'When we all come together'), this new work (which is composed as the preceding with 9 tracks, 3 for every musician as composer) seems to be more intense and refined. The level is quite near their second album Culture Clash, which many (including me) say it's their best.

Even if the songs show, as always, the influence of different musical styles, from rockabilly to progressive, pasing for jazz and metal, I noticed bass patterns are more groovy and also drumming, while it's always powerful and dynamic, is less obsessive tha in the preceding works. This brings to enhance musicality of the different tracks. About the Guthrie's guitar it's almost useless to spend more words: he is among the best nowadays guitar players for technique, ideas and feeling!

All the song are rousing and excellenty played but in my opinion above all there are 'D grade Fuck Movie Jam' and the wonderful 'Last Orders' and 'Burial at Sea'

You know what?' Highly reccomended!

 You Know What...? by ARISTOCRATS, THE album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.81 | 41 ratings

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You Know What...?
The Aristocrats Heavy Prog

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

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!

 Culture Clash Live! by ARISTOCRATS, THE album cover Live, 2015
3.94 | 15 ratings

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Culture Clash Live!
The Aristocrats Heavy Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars The multinational trio THE ARISTOCRATS was formed by chance when drummer Marco Minnemann and bassist Bryan Beller were set to perform with a guitarist at Winter NAMM in January 2011, when that guitarist gave a last minute cancellation, and Guthrie Govan was brought in as a replacement. This concert proved to be so vitalizing for all three that they decided to form a band, which so far has released three studio and three live albums. "Culture Clash Live!" dates back to the start of 2015, and was released by Boing Music, presumably the band's own label set-up.

The Aristocrats is a band that, I suspect, will have a high general appeal among musicians due to the band members alone, but in addition, I suspect many that have an interest in fairly expressive music blending jazz rock, progressive rock and hard rock will find the exploits of the Aristocrats to be compelling. This live CD and DVD combo comes across as a solid, quality production, and appears to me as an excellent choice to kick off with if you want to get more familiar with this high quality threesome.

 Tres Caballeros by ARISTOCRATS, THE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.71 | 83 ratings

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Tres Caballeros
The Aristocrats Heavy Prog

Review by crashandridemusic

4 stars Consisting of guitarist Guthrie Govan (Steven Wilson), drummer Marco Minnemann (Steven Wilson), and bassist Bryan Beller (Joe Satriani), this jazz-fusion/progressive rock band consists of some of the most well-renowned musicians at their respective instruments. Their latest album 'Tres Caballeros' contains some of the finest instrumental music I've heard.

Containing nine total songs, each member of the band wrote three of the tracks to their particular style and taste. Because of the experimental nature to this album, one could expect the improvisational aspects of the album to be very off-putting and over-the-top. The album is indeed zany, but because of the musicianship, integrity, and finesse of its composers, 'Tres Caballeros' turns out to be one highly intelligent album. This album contains no moments of egotistical playing, or overblown and longwinded solos for their own sakes. The collaborative effort of the band results in well structured songs, showcasing each instrument equally. Even the rhythm sections are interesting enough to stand out as their own songs if desired. The production quality of this record also allows each instrument to be heard simultaneously, whether it is a softer section of 'Pig's Day Off,' or an incredibly wild chorus in 'ZZ Top.' I love the artistic balance of this album, equaling highlighting all three members of the band.

It's hard for me to listen to this album and not favor drummer Marco Minnemann, my personal favorite drummer. The man is a musical genius, and a highly skilled multi-instrumentalist. There are too many drool-generating and mind-numbing moments of drumming on 'Tres Caballeros' to count, but I especially love his performance on his own contribution 'Stupid 7.' The freestyle opening, the fills during rhythm sections, and time-signature changes exemplify why he is indeed my favorite drummer. Despite my adoration for him, I feel the others' performance are more memorable. The jazzy guitar style of Govan is amusing throughout the album. Contributing solos to every song on the album, Govan particularly shines in 'Jack's Back,' one of his own compositions in the album. Containing tremolo picking, the song contains that clich' Govan sound that is easily heard in his contributions to Steven Wilson albums. The song 'Pressure Relief' easily reminds me of jazz guitarist Charlie Hunter, with its clean sounding muted plucks, bending notes, and wah pedal. Being one of the softer songs on the album, I enjoy the change of pace, especially since I was so convinced the album would be an hour long of nonstop crescendos during my first listen. I noticed some songs on the album contained layered guitar underneath some of Govan's solos, a technique that is always difficult to recreate live, but nonetheless adds much needed texture to prevent the song from falling apart. I almost wish there were moments like this in the album, but am completely satisfied with the sheer technicality of Govan throughout.

With support of the unrivaled talent of Minnemann and Govan, bassist Beller shines on this album, and is surprisingly my favorite characteristic of 'Tres Caballeros.' As a matter of fact, my three favorite tracks on this album are all compositions written by Beller, being 'Texas Crazypants,' 'Smuggler's Corridor,' and 'Through the Flower.' From the track titles alone, the listener can predict the mentality and stage setting of the song. 'Texas Crazypants' has every feeling of a Dukes of Hazard-style chase scene, incorporating police sirens and complementing bluesy guitar, while 'Smuggler's Corridor' is very much a Mexican standoff in the making, with each member dancing their tango around each other. The album cover helps to visualize this song, with low-bit Nintendo-themed characters dancing around in the desert. I believe these three songs perfectly capture the tone meant for the track, oftentimes attempted and missed by instrumental bands. There are delicious bass lines throughout the album, highlighted ironically in some of the other member's contributions. Being the least known member of the band to me, I thoroughly enjoyed discovering and singling out Beller's bass guitar.

For an album consisting of three uber-talented musicians, 'Tres Caballeros' is far more accessible than many other high-caliber and intense musicians. With each listen, you can focus on a different instrument and have a completely different experience. So sit down and dive into this amazing instrumental album.

Taken from Crash And Ride Music

 The Aristocrats by ARISTOCRATS, THE album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.76 | 118 ratings

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The Aristocrats
The Aristocrats Heavy Prog

Review by yair010390

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.
 Culture Clash by ARISTOCRATS, THE album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.78 | 119 ratings

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Culture Clash
The Aristocrats Heavy Prog

Review by Progrussia

4 stars I guess the only reason this project between three very capable session musicians are in the heavy prog category is because they use an electric guitar instead of, say, a trumpet, and have long hair. Otherwise, this is solid if not spectacular instrumental jazz rock. Somehow it sounds exactly as I expected it to sound - at times more jazzy, at times more funky or bluesy. A basic guitar-bass-drums format, all instruments are on equal footing and share the stage equally. This being what it is, don't expect much structure, but neither did I detect any showboating for the sake of showboating. In fact, I would make the case for it being too accessible for us proggers.
 The Aristocrats by ARISTOCRATS, THE album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.76 | 118 ratings

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The Aristocrats
The Aristocrats Heavy Prog

Review by Memo_anathemo

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.
 The Aristocrats by ARISTOCRATS, THE album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.76 | 118 ratings

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The Aristocrats
The Aristocrats Heavy Prog

Review by VOTOMS

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.
Thanks to nightfly for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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