Vanishing Point! Guitarist Bruce Arnold’s New Progressive Rock CD
Dense, non-stop excitement as Heavy Rock Shreds with Jazz and New Classical music. Playing at high volume recommended.
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Jerry DeVore –Bass
New perspectives on ProgRock with Vanishing Point
If there was any question that Bruce Arnold has the chops and style to handle heavy duty Progressive Rock, this CD answers the question with a very very loud YES. “Vanishing Point” finds Bruce Arnold exploring the Heavy Rock style and reveling in it. Compositions range from in-your-face screamers to arena rock ballads with soaring guitar solos. But true to his art, each song contains the compositional elements that are his signature: a rigorous theoretical structure, surprising angular melodies and chord patterns, tricky rhythms and underneath all, an emotional core. Each track has an array of tasty guitar sounds generated entirely through the Fractal Axe-FX II audio interface for your listening pleasure. Solid bass and drum work from Kirk Driscoll and Jerry DeVore round out the sweeping sound, while tons of cool programmed sounds add to the fun. And in case those of you who follow Arnold’s work are wondering, all songs and solos on “Vanishing Point” ARE based on the pitch class set 025.
The opening title track “Vanishing Point” starts with a riff that seems to have a regular metric feel until the band crashes in, giving it a menacing thrust. As the track progresses, rhythmically shifting power chords keep the ensemble on its toes, as Arnold keeps the hurricane force solos happening.
The other tracks on Vanishing Point are:
- “Seven Days” named for its 7/4 meter is a showcase for overdubbed guitar sounds, as Arnold alternates searing wawa solos with up to four guitar layers playing the melody. The track builds to a textural climax reminiscent of bagpipes.
- “Big Bout Ya” a funky 7/4 rock reggae track. The title is a Jamaican expression of high regard and support. “I really enjoyed taking these two-note melody riffs that you hear in reggae and using a whammy bar on them” says Arnold. “It’s just a fun thing.”
- “Aftermath” is a plain out nasty tune that alternates between 4/4 and 7/4 time giving it a ‘slow-fast” feel. It’s also a showcase for distorted guitar and a chance for Bruce to get off some speedy sweeps.
- Next, the ballad “Once” re-establishes Bruce’s ability to compose beautiful, eloquent melodies. The two parts of the song are stated, bassist Jerry DeVore takes a solo while Bruce lays down a sensitive sonic bed. His solo then switches to Allman brothers territory with blues, slide licks galore and layered lines.
- The melodic effects that hover over the drum track that open “Twice” are a tuned resonance derived by processing the drum sounds. Despite the delicate beginning, the track is another bone crusher this time in 5/4. Distorted guitar wawa solos shimmy in and out of slide guitar layerings and sonic artifacts.
- In South Dakota where Bruce Arnold grew up, the teenagers had a dangerous game to break the boredom: jumping from one speeding van into another. The song “Crystal” was written for one teenager of his acquaintance who made the jump, but missed the van. The track evokes the wide spaces of the plains, with a wistful melody floating over it. Arnold takes the song to more dynamic territory with Jeff Beck-like solos, but returns to the stuff of memory to end.
- Creating a denouement, Arnold closes the album with “Into the Wind” a song that seems to express a stoicism and perseverance in the face of adversity. It is also a study in multiple guitar parts, and a recap of the contrapuntal elements that run through the entire recording. Each guitar strand has its own life, but weaves into an elegant amalgam of sound.
Listen to excerpts:
- Vanishing Point
- Seven Days
- Big Bout Ya
- Into the Wind