"Freeze! Live in Europe 2020" (Boing; 2021)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Okay. Let's get something clear right here at the beginning. The music of The Aristocrats is probably closer to jazz than it is to the hard rock, heavy metal and punk typically featured on these pages. Don't get me wrong; "Freeze: Live in Europe 2020" sometimes features some pretty heavy guitar and some frightfully entertaining leads, but this collection of six live instrumental tracks is more about musical prowess and style than it is about banging your head.

"Freeze! Live in Europe 2020" is a fascinating listen from beginning to end because the musicianship and the musical camaraderie in these live recordings is tangible and mesmerizing. It reminds me a little of Ritchie Blackmore-era Deep Purple, when the band would just jam out in the middle of a killer tune and just play with each other, following one another along paths perhaps previously unexplored.

I get that this may not be for everyone. It is an instrumental album, after all, and a live one (recorded at various gigs in Spain in February 2020) at that. But I found it an irresistible listen and, perhaps most tellingly, something I'll listen again to very soon.

The Aristocrats: Guthrie Govan - guitar; Bryan Beller - bass; Marco Minnemann - drums.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Copyright 2021 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.