Chris Brooks is an immensely talented guitar player hailing from Australia. I’ve heard a little of Chris’s playing in the past, and thought it was quite impressive. So when he asked if I would be interested in reviewing his latest album “The Axis of All Things” I could not say no. This is the first music review I’ve published on my blog, and I hope you like it.
Let me start off by saying I’m always a bit apprehensive when it comes to listening to solely instrumental guitar albums. I quite often find that many guitar players in this realm, whilst extremely talented musicians, have a habit of trying to make their music either far too technical, and/or too quirky, and miss things like melody and harmony. Everything sounds like a massive exercise, and I end up feeling exhausted after a few tracks. I always feel that the sign of an excellent instrumental guitar album is when a non-guitar player can appreciate it. This, I believe, always comes from the music having strong melody and harmony first and foremost, and any acrobatics and craziness is just the icing on the cake.
And from my first listen to “The Axis of All Things” I knew that Chris was someone who completely understood this. From the first notes of “Prelude”, to the final flurry of madness of “Velvet Claws” there are ear worms all throughout this album. I have found myself humming or whistling many a melody contained in the tracks of “The Axis of All Things”.
That’s not to say that there aren’t any impressive fretboard pyrotechnics on the album. Chris is a master of the six string, and throughout the album he wows the listener with his command of the guitar. There are face melting fast licks, smooth legato, crazy sweeps, and beautiful bluesy bends, but it is never overwhelming. Chris always comes back to the melody and the harmony, keeping the listener begging for more.
Chris’s influences can be heard throughout the album, but they are never overbearing. Chris has certainly forged his own style, and the mix of rock, metal and fusion, with some tasteful ballads thrown in make for an excellent listen.
The tones throughout “The Axis of All Things” are very tasty indeed. Chris certainly knows how to dial in great sounds, and the mix found on this album are all excellent. The overall mix of the album is great too, with all instruments used sitting nicely in the mix.
Overall I’ve been really impressed with “The Axis of All Things”. The song writing is excellent, the playing is fantastic, and the tones all very tasty. Chris has written an album that is full of memorable tracks that will stick in your head – and I mean that in the best way possible.