Wim S. : The Aristocrats is a trio consisting of musicians of the highest level. Think about it: Guthrie Govan (Asia, Steven Wilson) on guitar, Bryan Beller on bass (James Labrie, Steve Vai) and Marco Minneman (Necrophagist, Mike Keneally, UK) is behind the drumkit. With such a line up you do not need to have doubts about the instrumental part of this CD. But you also know that there is a danger that you will listen one full hour to what I always describe as ‘music for musicians'. Technically advanced music, but not understandable for the non-musician. With their second album 'Culture Clash' the trio has released a more diverse and heavier album than their debut album recorded in 2011.
Unfortunately, however, I find that my fear was justified. ‘Culture Clash' is an album with nine tracks which hardly can be described as tracks. There are nine short jam sessions, in which the three men can showcase their technical ability. With open mouth you listen to the incredible technical level, but at the same time you are wondering to what you are actually listening to. You hear no songs, no recurring melodies. Sometimes you hear a short piece of what appears to be something that goes towards a recognizable melody (the rockabilly riff in 'Louisville Stomp', a funky and groovy riff in ‘Ohhh Nooo’) but in no time that changes to incredible craziness on all three instruments. And where they had built some quiet jazzy pieces on the debut album, on this new release it is mainly the total madness that prevails (‘Desert Tornado'), especially Govan goes beserk and produces more strange noises than Steve Vai ever did. I also have to mention that the CD is inserted into a hideous cover
(inspired by the movie ‘A Serious Man’ by the Coen Brothers). There will appear a deluxe edition of the album later this year with a bonus DVD.