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Beach, Reb: A View From the Inside

Reb Beach has been a name known to guitar players around the world since the debut Winger album in 1988 and love or hate the band, Reb Beach is a World Class Guitar Player…period! He is an easily recognizable player and you know it’s him an pretty much an album or song that he has played on. The guy even replaced the legendary George Lynch in Dokken for a while and did quite a great job in doing so. He’s also been half of the guitar tandem in Whitesnake for 17 years now. The guy can play!!

Over the years, I have grown tired of Guitar Instrumental 'Shredfests'. YouTube is littered with 14 year olds who can shred their faces off, which is all well and good, but it becomes boring, rather quickly! And if you’ve ever gone down that 'Rabbit Hole', you’ve probably noticed how the 'Shredders' usually either cover someone else’s tune or just freeform solo, very few actually compose an actual song, that spotlights their playing. Well, this is what sets someone like Reb Beach apart from the usual drivel that is out there in spades in 2020, Reb Beach can craft a song. Beach’s new Solo Instrumental album, his first in 19 years (his other 2 releases were available directly through his website in 2001), is called A View From The Inside (Frontiers Records) and is a complete breath of fresh air. It’s part Metal, part Fusion and ALL Reb Beach.

A View From The Inside shows Reb Beach in an excellent light and using his always excellent guitar tone and chops to blaze through 10 great Instrumentals that showcases both his rather well known, cascading 2 hand tapping technique, that helps make him so instantly recognizable and his songwriting ability to craft songs that are eloquent, mature, heavy and funky all at the same time. The album kicks off with an old Internet favorite, “Black Magic” (there are some excellent YouTube live performances of Beach doing this one from a few years ago and he’s wailing!!) that sets the bar and pace for this fantastic record. The opening riff is an absolute killer and will instantly grab your attention and with that, the bar is set for the rest of the album. If you have ever heard any of Beach’s previous Solo material, you already know that Beach is a “Fusion Head” and this release is not different. He gets his Fusion love in all over this record and songs like, “The Way Home” and “Attack Of The Massive” show that Steve Morse-like Fusion influence. Beach’s emotive phrasing and soulful playing just completely shine through and again….that guitar tone!! Man!!!!

Reb Beach is a smart player and song crafter. This solo album is NOT one of self-indulgence, but rather a display of Joe Satriani-like instrumentals that have a melody to them and are a SONG with excellent lead playing throughout, NOT merely a vehicle for a famous guitar to wank off for 4 minutes in a shred-o-licious solo. No sir, this is an extremely fun and intriguing listen and it’s Reb Beach’s ability to float between the Fusion and Metal worlds that really make this Instrumental record so good for me. I have long been a fan of Reb Beach and this first “official” solo album does NOT disappoint. In fact, it has helped to restore my interest in the Instrumental Guitar platform, once again. This record Smokes and in fact is easily in my Top 10 album releases of 2020. Yep….it’s THAT freakin’ good!

Track Listing
1. Black Magic
2. Little Robots
3. Aurora Borealis
4. Infinito
5. Attack Of The Massive
6. The Way Home
7. Whiplash
8. Hawkdance
9. Cutting Loose
10. Sea Of Tranquility

Added: February 3rd 2021
Reviewer: Butch Jones
Related Link: Artist Website
Hits: 838
Language: english

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Beach, Reb: A View From the Inside
Posted by Steven Reid, SoT Staff Writer on 2021-02-03 15:01:33
My Score:

If ever a band were wrongly categorised as throwaway fluff, then surely it had to be Winger? We all know that Beavis and Butthead ridiculed the hugely successful outfit mercilessly, and that grunge came in and twisted the knife. However, a quick listen to, for example, the Rudess Morgenstein project, Kip Winger’s classical compositions or indeed the instrumental fusion albums from Reb Beach leave little doubt that Winger were possibly the most talented ‘hair’ outfit of them all.

Now, some 17 years after he last graced us with one of his fusion excursions comes A View From The Inside, a Reb Beach shredfest that isn’t all shred. In fact, while this guy is smoking his guitar with no restraint, he’s doing so with wordless songs, rather than the simple fret-wankery that so often informs this genre. Much of the music here actually dips back into Reb’s previously fan-only release, The Fusion Demos, and with those pieces recorded and released on a strict budget, the upgrades and reworkings here are not just welcome but even for someone who has long enjoyed that CD, something of a revelation. Poise, precision and the willingness to make melody sit right at the heart of everything that’s going on make the likes of “Aurora Borealis” hugely engaging, but don’t fret (sorry…) because Reb is on fire on this track, just as he is elsewhere on A View From The Inside.

Guitar instrumental albums are hardly most people’s go to experience and yet, in hands as expert as these, that’s something of a travesty. There’s so much to grab a hold of on “Infinito”, “Whiplash” and “Hawkdance” that not only do these cuts thrive without a vocalist, there’s simply no denying that just don’t need one.

We all know what Reb Beach can do with Winger and indeed with Whitesnake, where he is now chief songwriter, but standing alone surely he can’t be just as interesting and just as creative? These results would suggest the exact opposite and while those other bands might pay the bills and tour the world, it’s here that this guitarist really, truly comes alive.

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