Bruce Arnold - Heavy Mental
I wouldn't call Bruce Arnold a virtuoso, because he doesn't subscribe to the fretboard wankery that is normally associated with that term. I'd rather call him a guitar maestro, as his compositions weave and bob between stylistic traits of jazz, rock, and a bit of metal in such a way where one could easily associate them as one structure or a wholly new genre. Arnold's style is more contemporary than Al Di Meola, less shred-tastic than Tony MacAlpine or Steve Vai, and more ferocious than Eric Johnson.
In a nutshell, HEAVY MENTAL sounds like a Gary Hoey album had Hoey studied jazz. The arrangements bear strong attention to atmosphere, soulful intensity, and a spark of fun that prevents each track from becoming long in the tooth. And within all that is a witty Frank Zappa vibe, causing the listener to be surprised with each chord progression.
With groovy, left-of-center nuances and an early Mr. Bungle flair for the dramatic, each song on HEAVY MENTAL tells a story - not exactly a narrative, but an evolution of an attitude, or an autobiographical expression in sound. It is almost as though the guitar is simply another appendage on Arnold's body, expressing visceral tones the same way someone would show emotion through facial expressions or waving one's arms when he talks. Forgive the esoteric nature of this review; HEAVY MENTAL is one of those rare albums that seeps beneath the skin and alters one's perceptions.
User Reviews and CommentsLog In or Register to Rate Albums
Tell us why this album is great or sucks ass, or correct the reviewer. If you write enough quality reviews you may find yourself on the editorial staff.
Reviews have to be over 100 words, shorter ones are classed as comments.