"Band of Brothers"

By Dark Starr

Brian Tarquin is one of the three guys who are listed as making up Band of Brothers. The other two are Phil Naro and Reggie Pryor. This is a set of awesome metal tunes that manage to vary quite a bit from song to song. This also includes a bevy of guest performers including Jeff Scott Soto, Trey Gunn, Tony Franklin and Steve Morse. In fact, each song has a featured guest. All in all, this is quite a strong disc. 

The opening track is titled "Eastern Front" and features Joel Hoekstra. It fires in with fierce heavy metal textures. It's a screaming hot and tastefully raw jam. It reminds me a bit of Dio era Rainbow, but with more of a raw metal edge to it. There are some intriguing shifts and changes on this, leaning it toward heavy metal at times. 

Featuring Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal, "Pull the Trigger on PTSD" is next, and as good as the opener was, in some ways the follow-up is even better. I love the jam section later in the track in particular. It brings some fusion and some seriously cool textures. The guitar soloing is really tasty. The more metallic section that drives the cut and serves as the bulk of the track is strong. The chorus feels a bit awkward to me, though. Basically the "PTSD" part doesn't flow well. As a diagnosis it works well. As a song hook, it's less effective. 

Cool metal sounds blend with some almost proggy stuff on " War is Strictly Business." The song features Jeff Watson, and it's along the lines of something King's X would do in some ways. More of a melodic rock sound makes up parts of " Sands of Time." It also includes some more rocking sections that are distinctly metal. I'm reminded in some ways of the Scorpions. Call it what you like, but this is a dynamic cut that's one of the best on show here. The guitar soloing is particularly meaty, too. I love the bass driven break, as well. The cut features Jeff Scott Soto.

As strong as the last piece was, " To Fight a War I Don't Understand" manages to up the ante. It's mean. It's powerful. It's the most extreme modern metal grind here. Yet, it has a lot of classic sound in it, too. It's technical at times. It's another that makes me think of a more extreme version of Rainbow. It features Tina Guo. 

Featuring Steve Morse, "Night Patrol" is next. Another fierce metal grind, the main riff on it is rubbery and so tasty. The guitar soloing is so strong. The mellower movement that serves as the counter-point and backdrop for a massive guitar solo is very strong.  "Lock & Loaded" (featuring Gary Hoey) is a bit more melodic, but it's still pure heavy metal. It has some particularly cool guitar soloing built into it. There is even some talk box stuff at times. This instrumental is among my favorites here. It's just so expressive. 

Another that has a bit of a rubbery sound to it, " Children of Vietnam" is a fierce and meaty stomper with a cool modern metal sound to it. The break on the cut is jazzy fusion stuff.  "Love & War"  featuring Tony Franklin comes next. A bit more straightforward, it is another that calls to mind King's X a bit. It's a scorching hot number that's hook laden and so tasty. The mellower jam mid-track lets Franklin's bass really shine. They fire out from that fusion-like section into some searing metal, though. 

The closer bears the title "Alpha Bravo" and features Trey Gunn. As you might expect of an instrumental that includes Trey Gunn, it definitely has a bit of a modern King Crimson edge to it. Still, it's screaming hot and quite metallic. It is the progggiest thing on the disc, though.