BHP 2023

Brothers In Arms

There’s no glory without hope: venerated American multi-instrumentalist and his kindred spirits pay tribute to veterans.

It may seem so easy to dismiss this platter as another star-strewn concept, in which some artists specialize, with a rather trite title – yet the album which sees Brian Tarquin follow up both 2014’s “Guitars For Wounded Warriors” and "Vegas Blue" from 2020, in terms of praising soldiers who defend their country and depicting people’s suffering, should infuse “Brothers In Arms” with a deeper meaning. Despite the presence of six-string luminaries adding stellar solos to his instrumental pieces, the resulting offering feels very personal, reflecting not only the composer’s emotions but also Tarquin’s desire to contribute to the right cause, so partial proceeds from the record’s sales go to the Fisher House Foundation to help house veterans’ families while they are hospitalized. Here’s why there’s no chance the music on display will leave anyone indifferent.

And here’s why it’s not opener “Speed Of Sound” – where Joe Satriani’s stinging licks assist Brian and drummer Reggie Pryor in proudly flying their riff-ruffled flag – that nails the listener’s attention to the mast; it’s the magnificent “Hounds Of Hell” that, given symphonic grandeur courtesy of The Budapest String Orchestra and Tarquin’s slider, plus majestic shredding from Johannes Weik, takes the flow to celestial level. So if “Kiss My Axe” has aggressive filigree sculpted by him and Vinnie Moore, and “Luxor” finds Bumblefoot’s harmonic passages dissolve the number’s layered gloom, the ensemble leader’s crystalline strum and Alex De Rosso’s acoustic attack turn “Devil’s Tombstone” into an inspired flight to heaven, before the solid swirl of “D-Day” holds the fort down and “Saigon Sally” calls on Gerald Gradwohl’s sonic assault and Brian’s talk box to stage Apocalypse anew. However, “Purple Heart” projects flamenco-esque twang on Tarqiun’s fretboard until Chris Haskett’s lines locate a way out of this impressive labyrinth and bring hope in there.

With a strong sensation of fraternal support from Brian Tarquin and his brethren, this album’s battle is one leading to victory.


February 19, 2023

Category(s): Reviews
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