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Band of Brothers

Band of Brothers

Review by Gary Hill

Brian Tarquin is one of the three guys who are listed as making up Band of Brothers. The other two are Phil Naro and Reggie Pryor. In the past I've included Tarquin's releases under progressive rock. This one comes close to that heading, and perhaps could have fit there. Ultimately I decided that it's a better fit under heavy metal, but it really could go either way. This is a set of awesome metal tunes that manage to vary quite a bit from song to song. This also includes a bevy of guest performers including Jeff Scott Soto, Trey Gunn, Tony Franklin and Steve Morse. In fact, each song has a featured guest. All in all, this is quite a strong disc.

 

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2017  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Eastern Front featuring Joel Hoekstra

This fires in with fierce heavy metal textures. It's a screaming hot and tastefully raw jam. It reminds me a bit of Dio era Rainbow, but with more of a raw metal edge to it. There are some intriguing shifts and changes on this, leaning it toward heavy metal at times.

Pull the Trigger on PTSD featuring Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal

As good as the opener was, in some ways this is even better. I love the jam section later in the track in particular. It brings some fusion and some seriously cool textures. The guitar soloing is really tasty. The more metallic section that drives the cut and serves as the bulk of the track is strong. The chorus feels a bit awkward to me, though. Basically the "PTSD" part doesn't flow well. As a diagnosis it works well. As a song hook, it's less effective.

War is Strictly Business featuring Jeff Watson

Cool metal sounds blend with some almost proggy stuff. It's along the lines of something King's X would do in some ways.

Sands of Time featuring Jeff Scott Soto

More of a melodic rock sound makes up parts of this. It also includes some more rocking sections that are distinctly metal. I'm reminded in some ways of the Scorpions. Call it what you like, but this is a dynamic cut that's one of the best on show here. The guitar soloing is particularly meaty, too. I love the bass driven break, as well.

To Fight a War I Don't Understand featuring Tina Guo

As strong as the last piece was, this manages to up the ante. It's mean. It's powerful. It's the most extreme modern metal grind here. Yet, it has a lot of classic sound in it, too. It's technical at times. It's another that makes me think of a more extreme version of Rainbow.

Night Patrol featuring Steve Morse
Another fierce metal grind, the main riff on this is rubbery and so tasty. The guitar soloing is so strong. The mellower movement that serves as the counter-point and backdrop for a massive guitar solo is very strong.
Lock & Loaded featuring Gary Hoey

This is a bit more melodic, but it's still pure heavy metal. It has some particularly cool guitar soloing built into it. There is even some talk box stuff at times. This instrumental is among my favorites here. It's just so expressive.

Children of Vietnam featuring Brian Tarquin
Another that has a bit of a rubbery sound to it. This is a fierce and meaty stomper with a cool modern metal sound to it. The break on this cut is jazzy fusion stuff.
Love & War featuring Tony Franklin

A bit more straightforward, this is another that calls to mind King's X a bit. It's a scorching hot number that's hook laden and so tasty. The mellower jam mid-track lets Franklin's bass really shine. They fire out from that fusion-like section into some searing metal, though.

Alpha Bravo featuring Trey Gunn
As you might expect of an instrumental that includes Trey Gunn, this definitely has a bit of a modern King Crimson edge to it. Still, it's screaming hot and quite metallic. It is the progggiest thing on the disc, though.
 
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