Review Summary: Sophisticated Aristocratic beauty
Formed during 2011, the trio of Guthrie Govan, Marco Minnemann and Bryan Beller proved to be an immediate success. Having recorded their self-titled debut album in just eight days, they embarked on an 18-month journey around the globe to let audiences be aware of their existence. Fans and critics caught quickly in their spell: positive reviews and sold-out events, leading to the recording of a live DVD called BOING, We’ll Do It Live!
. This is the longest story that could possibly be said for these guys up to this point. And we have already reached 2013: the year in which The Aristocrats' would present us their sophomore album, Culture Clash
Similar to the debut, Culture Clash
was recorded in eight days and this fact was again not detrimental to its overall quality. But how could it lack quality anyway? Having a guitarist who blends so eloquently fusion, metal, prog, blues, jazz and a diverse bassist who has worked with Steve Vai and Joe Santriani you are up to hear one of the best all-instrumental bands of our times. And let's not ignore Marco Minnemann, the guy who is developing a drum technique called 'extreme interdependence'.
For song contribution purposes, Culture Clash
has the same democratic approach as it's predecessor: three members, three tracks from each one of them. Be assured that you will not need lots of imagination to understand who has written which. Take for example the intro song "Dance of the Aristocrats". A skillful and rhythmic drum pattern topped with sharp and sweet tom tom fills should have already lifted your spirits. Yes, this is one of Minnemann's songs. Along with the groovy "Ohhh Nooo" and the insanely technical "Desert Tornado" they represent the drummer's inputs to the album.
Talking about inputs, Guthrie Govan contributes a lot to the band's music but surely not on image. I wonder whether this shabby guy with long, grotty beards simply does not care about his looks or he was the product of the most successful time machine ever to be made. The answer to this is surely an intriguing one. His contribution on the other hand is unquestionable. The once called "Virtuoso’s Virtuoso" has a fluid playing which is characterised by precision, sharpness and lots of creativity. While the album's self-titled song "Culture Clash" is more melodic, rhythmic and adventurous, "Gaping Head Wound" is a diverse track with endless ups and downs in tempo and intensity.
Despite the musical proficiency that characterises this polyethnic trio, there is another unifying force that drives them towards recognition, respect and success: energy. And Beller's compositions depict much of this. Whether it's the jazzy "Louisville Stomp" or the emphatic "Living The Dream", energy is beyond doubt the fuel that drives this sensational band. If the these two haven't convinced you yet, then the exotic and groovy "Cocktail Umbrellas" will do the trick.
The entourage goes beyond its limits in some cases either by playing very heavy riffs or odd-time signatures, however, above all you understand that they have fun. And this fun is conveyed to the listener throughout this fifty-seven minute voyage. It would be interesting to see a vocalist accompanying them at some time but for the moment lets enjoy a drum kit, a guitar and a bass performing some classy acts.