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Beller, Bryan: Scenes From The Flood

Bryan Beller has eluded my listening ear until his latest double CD titled Scenes From The Flood caught my attention in 2019. The artist has worked with Dweezil Zappa, Mike Keneally, Steve Vai, Wayne Kramer (MC5), Mullmuzzler and many others. He formed The Aristocrats in 2011 along with Guthrie Govan and Marco Minnemann and so far that band has released four studio efforts along with three live discs. He has played on no less than fourteen Keneally albums and nine Steve Vai albums; the point is he has played with some incredible musicians and has built up an impressive discography. Knowing he has been such a prolific artist and playing with top notch musicians I was quite excited to dip my ears into his latest effort, Scenes From The Flood. And folks, this is simply an outstanding work.

There are two discs to enjoy broken into parts one through four. The album is mostly instrumental except for three tracks with vocals. The first disc is almost entirely instrumental (except for the spoken word on the third track) beginning with the opening tune “The Scouring Of Three & Seventeen”. A tranquil keyboard soon builds with instruments slowly added in quite a majestic way. It’s short length does not lessen its impact in any way and the melody is really quite nice. Tasty keys and guitar dominate the progressive fusion/art rock of “Volunteer State” where heavy riffs merge with a ripping guitar solo from Joe Satriani. A deep rhythmic groove and awesome interplay between Matt Rohde (keys), Nate Morton (drums) and Beller (keys, bass) highlights the upbeat “Everything And Nothing” which also has some spoken word from Beller. It’s another excellent track. “A Quickening” features only Beller and Mike Keneally (guitars) with its quirky programmed drum patterns and wild guitar riffs, with a thicker, heavier sound. I love how the sound builds towards the end. “Always Worth It” features some great guitar work, especially the crystal clean solo from Rick Musallam and Pat Travers’ gritty rock tones. Moody atmospheres and a calming introspection can be heard and felt on “Lookout Mountain” where Mike Dawes provides acoustic baritone guitar and Beller plays Tibetan bowls. The two instruments meld wonderfully together. The last two tracks; “The Storm” and “The Flood” are a dichotomy of light and heavy with the former featuring some truly heavy guitar work and the latter bringing forth an atmospheric and slightly ominous sound.

The second disc begins with the mellow and moody “Bunkistan” showcasing Beller’s excellent bass and guitar work. The beginning guitar tone in “As Advertised” is a throwback to the ‘60s before the sound diverts along an almost techno path. The keys are used for texture and sound quite grandiose. “Army Of The Black Rectangles” is a short piece featuring heavy guitar riffs and distorted lead vocals and is followed by the pretty “The Outer Boundary” with the focus on strings and keyboards. A main highlight has to be “Angles & Exits”, starting ominously with stark textures and moody atmospheres before building into a majestic progressive rock piece.

Scenes From The Flood is simply an outstanding progressive rock album from an artist who has easily caught my attention. I can’t wait to hear more of his work. Highly recommended.

Track Listing:
Disc 1
Part One
1. The Scouring Of Three & Seventeen
2. Volunteer State
3. Everything And Nothing
4. A Quickening
5. Steiner In Ellipses
Part Two
6. Always Worth It
7. Lookout Mountain
8. The Storm
9. The Flood

Disc 2
Part Three
10. Bunkistan
11. As Advertised
12. Army Of The Black Rectangles
13. The Outer Boundary
14. Angles & Exits
Part Four
15. The Inner Boundary
16. World Class
17. Sweet Water
18. Let Go Of Everything

Added: October 18th 2020
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's Official Site
Hits: 304
Language: english

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