May 05, 2021

The Aristocrats: FREEZE! Live In Europe 2020

Power fusion rock trio The Aristocrats were in the midst of their lengthy world tour promoting the You Know What…? album, when everything shut down and live concerts were cancelled. Guthrie Govan (guitar), Bryan Beller (bass) and Marco Minnemann (drums) were playing really well and enjoying themselves. FREEZE! Live In Europe 2020, the new album was recorded during the Spanish leg of the tour, captures them in full swing with the improvisational skills of all three band members allowed to roam free. Mad skills is an overused term these days, and most bands are lucky if they have one virtuoso in their midst, let alone two or three. The Aristocrats are all masters of their instruments, applying tension and release, and never playing a track the same way twice. Add their wicked sense of humour to the equation and it's no wonder that they are a household name among musos and fellow musicians.

Hitting the ground running with the abrasive D Grade Fuck Movie Jam, a twisted hard rocker written by Beller, who named it after a scathing review of their music. After that good-natured sonic assault they travel south of the border with Spanish Eddie, mixing flamenco with fusion and jazz, with side dishes of rock 'n' roll and metal. Progressive music isn't swinging as such, but trying to stand still when they throw down When We All Come Together, is nigh impossible, but just when the crowd is getting really into it they take a sharp left, with a short avant-garde interlude, before getting into the (albeit slightly altered) groove again. The Ballad Of Bonnie And Clyde comes as a welcome breather, with Guthrie showcasing his great tone and fluidity.

Drum solos are a rarity nowadays, but Minnemann captures the spotlight during the mammoth Get It Like That, using all his tricks in (and a few he lifted from other percussionists), dedicating it to his hero Neil Peart, the Rush drummer, who had passed away on January 7. The album's closer, Last Orders, is a slow moving, meandering track, with Beller and Minneman mostly in a jazz mood, and Guthrie sprinkling the notes over the audience like fairy dust. FREEZE! Live In Europe 2020 is their fourth live album in all, and playing them back to back is a great way to follow their musical path over the last decade.

The Aristocrats: FREEZE! Live In Europe 2020

FREEZE! Live In Europe 2020 is available for pre-order from their website (CD, vinyl, digital).

  1. D Grade Fuck Movie Jam
  2. Spanish Eddie
  3. When We All Come Together
  4. The Ballad Of Bonnie And Clyde
  5. Get It Like That (Dedicated To Neil Peart)
  6. Last Orders


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