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Brad Russell: Let's Hear It! (2012)

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Brad Russell: Let's Hear It! How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Badass bassist Brad Russell takes care of business with cyclonic fretwork that might be expected from a whirling-dervish on steroids. Even though the digital-only release clocks in a little under 30 minutes, this debut solo endeavor contains largely memorable works, featuring guitar hero Joe Satriani and others on select tracks.

Russell's busy session work covers a widespread array of genres and notable pop, rock and jazz acts. His guerilla tactics span hyper-mode slapping lines, over-the-top phased-out distortion techniques and supple wah-wah lines. On many pieces he alternates the tonal spectrum as this facet helps keep the bass-heavy sounds from becoming monolithic in scope. It's a bass shootout, and with all-star drummer Gregg Bissonette providing the polyrhythmic pulse, the album parlays a big sound, augmented by the artists' fluid impetus.

Russell excels at building substantial themes as opposed to endless riffing. Some of these tunes are catchy, but nothing is explicitly sugarcoated, evidenced by his blitzing fills and reinvention of the primary melody on {{Michael Jackson||'s "Beat It." Then Russell zooms in for the kill with an ominous bottom-end presence in support of Satriani's bending notes and streaming crescendos during the prog-metal workout, "Zattack." On a per-track basis, he sustains interest amid slight variations and a prismatic portraiture of supercharged cadences and doomsday chops, often engineered with flickering notes and rippling harmonics. Russell flaunts his improvisational skills throughout via intricately patterned chord voicings and a stinging web of tenaciously executed leads. No doubt, he resides in the driver's seat on this high-impact and irrefutably cohesive statement. Play it loud.

Track Listing: Seven Shred; Beat It; Zattack; Brothers; Hello Jeff; Native Tongue.

Personnel: Brad Russell: bass and tenor bass; Gregg Bissonette: drums, (1-5); Joe Satriani: guitar (3); Kevin Russell: last guitar solo (4); Steve Kindler: violin (6).

Record Label: Digital Nations


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