Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Evan Brewer: Alone (Album Review)

Release Date: June 28th, 2011
Review Date: July 16th, 2011
Label: Sumerian 

My rating: 10/10

Evan Brewer, better known to the metal world as bassist for The Faceless, has come up with a solo effort of his own, a very unique bass-only album titled 'Alone'. This is most definitely the first time I've come across an album of this kind. I admire his work in The Faceless, and obviously as soon as this was announced, I was more than excited. After listening to these mesmerizing 27-and-a-half minutes, my respect and admiration for Evan Brewer has grown ten-fold.

For starters, you would think I'm lying when I say that each and every note on this album has been created merely by using a bass. But it's in fact the truth. Brewer's work here is true testimony to what a skilled musician can achieve with his instrument. The album is quite simply titled Alone because Brewer is the sole creator and performer. It engages the listener into complete attention right from the outset, with the incredible opening tune "Actualize". Even though it's a short-ish track of 4-minute duration, it's full of twists and turns that would even make prog rock legends proud. I'm pretty sure I'm going to run out of superlatives by the time I'm done with this review, but oh well, I'll give it a try.

"Contraband" sounds every bit as good as the opener, and then some. While it has heavier undertones as compared to the opening track, it also offers a bit more of the melodic aspect that only a genius of the calibre of Brewer could have created on the bass, an instrument certainly not known for melody. "Currency" is dark, spacey and melancholic, a very gripping, almost hypnotic 4 minutes of music. At times you'll hear not one, not two, but three layers of bass. As I said before, you'll really have to listen to it to believe it.

"Altered Perspective" Parts 1 and 2 further enhance the melodic aspect that can be found in the first three tracks. Part 2 is more 'upbeat' than Part 1, and the sheer number of notes you can hear in such a short time interval is quite spine-tingling. The following track "Vertigo", and indeed the rest of the album doesn't disappoint either, and would leave the listener stunned in complete amazement. It's always fascinating for me to think about how song titles for instrumental tunes comes about, to think about how the musician maps his music on to a word or a phrase. Somehow, every title makes perfect sense in this particular album if you get deep into the music.

I always like to see musicians in metal bands attempt to create something of their own on the side, and whether or not it's strictly "metal" doesn't matter to me. But in the end I do owe it to metal to enable me to open my ears to all these different styles of music, purely because of the association I can make between the musician in focus and the metal band I've known him for being a member of. This album also should prove to be a major stepping stone in the endeavor to forever bring to end the common notion that members of metal bands aren't as skilled as musicians outside of the metal sphere.

Whether you're a fan of jazz fusion or not, take it from me that you won't regret picking up Evan Brewer's "Alone". I would suggest you to listen to it exactly the way it should be, sitting by yourself in a quiet room, with headphones on. Because if you do so, this album will quite literally take your mind to another planet.

    Track Listing:
  1. Actualize
  2. Contraband
  3. Currency
  4. Altered Perspective One
  5. Altered Perspective Two
  6. Vertigo
  7. The Decline
  8. Degenerate
  9. Looking West
  10. A Climate For Change

No comments:

Post a Comment