Brooks, Chris - The Master Plan

Year of Release: 2002
Label: Indpendent
Catalog Number: CB1001
Format: CD
Total Time: 42:23:00

Australia is certainly no stranger to the pantheon of guitar gods that plenty of teenager musicians and other assorted human beings worship with devoted adoration, nor is it foreign to frequent breach of its status quo. In fact, the country seems to devilishly enjoy sending a new six-string cherub into the brave new world every time things seem to cool off regarding Oceania, and with Chris Brooks and his debut album The Master Plan, the playfulness doesn't seem bound to end anytime soon. In fact, it now seems that the delivered package was sent even before growing up adequately to face the harshness of this Earth, perhaps in hopes that maturity will be more quickly achieved under pressure. In the meantime, however, Brooks has come out all guns blazing and with the express intention of taking no prisoners ... talk about an unruly cherub.

First things first though: this man has some serious chops. We're not talking about your average Joe from the American Midwest whose prevalent influences were "Bach and Edward Van Halen" and who could easily be misplaced among a thousand others sending their demos to Guitar World every day, but of a guitar player with a good understanding of technique, a relative variety of styles, and that glossy smoothness that progressive metal fans so adore nowadays. Moreover, The Master Plan is not a collection of ten different chord progressions above which Brooks picks notes like a random tone generator on speed, but an actual collection of instrumentals with rhyme and reason. Yup, we've thrown the possibility of this being sonic torture out the window, and that's good news.

Unfortunately, however, The Master Plan fails to meet the lofty expectations set by Brooks' uncanny technical abilities, despite the fact that the Aussie is to be commended for his good taste where shredding is concerned. "Kryptica" starts off more than just alright, with a couple of curveball licks showing up here and there above the polished progressive metal backbone and thus keeping things quite interesting for a while. And then "Inner Light" and "Crack In The Hourglass" further the initial momentum, the former even featuring a cool rhythm and riff at one point that is a bit too close to Dream Theater but nevertheless gets the listener to crack a smile, the latter the culmination of the accumulated impact with its blistering fretwork and smart trigger action. However, things start lagging behind with "Blue Sky Odyssey," and never quite manage to catch up again afterwards.

That is, not until the very ending of "Tales From A Distant Sky," where Brooks resurrects interest all of a sudden for the album's last two minutes. It's not that the six tracks constituting the lapse are a vacuous null of nonsensical scale activity and mindless legato phrasing, but they are somehow just too normal, too easy to predict, as if Brooks were beginning to rely on his influences and their respective clich?s more than just the necessary amount. And the end effect of this is that one suddenly loses interest and does not realize that the record is still playing until those aforementioned last two minutes arrive and jolt one into consciousness, thus proving that while Brooks can indeed write instrumentals with more than enough coherence and structure to be more than just extended solos, he still needs to find his own seat in the guitar god pantheon. Who knows? With his technique and obvious enthusiasm maybe he'll have someone like Brett Garsed gasping "Et tu, Brute?" in the coming years. In the meantime, however, this Australian conspirator still has some room left to grow.

Similar Artists: Michael Harris, John Petrucci, Steve Vai, Planet X

Kryptica (4:51) / Inner Light (4:05) / Crack In The Hourglass (5:42) / Blue Sky Odyssey (5:00) / Funksion (1:40) Master Plan Suite (Tracks 6-8): / Theme For The Next World (0:45) / Axiom (2:28) / The Master Plan (6:08) / Only Time (3:44) / Tales From A Distant Sky (8:00)

Chris Brooks - Guitar, all other instruments

The Master Plan (2002)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin AU

Added: June 2nd 2002
Reviewer: Marcelo Silveyra
Artist website:
Hits: 793
Language: english


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