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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Introducing Brandon Ruckus

Hard to believe not too long ago the younger generation was snidely dismissing guitar solos, power metal epics and anything remotely resembling the platform structures of the eighties that built this scene.

Of course, those remarks came during a nu-metal phase that lasted less than grunge and now it's humbling to see so many youthful guitarists picking up axes and learning beyond a handful of chords with which to get by. Metalcore bands have especially learned you need an edge if your songs are largely tailored around breakdown sequences, thus bands like As I Lay Dying, The Autumn Offering, Trivium and their brethren are wowing us with affecting guitar solos.

On the other end of the spectrum, both traditional thrash and power metal are making comebacks in North America and in the hands of serious-minded revivalists such as Brandon Ruckus, it's quite possible the pendulum of favor could shift from the agro brutality of metalcore, death and black metal that is quickly running out of ideas. Shudder to think, we might actually meander back to a restoration of classic-themed heavy metal.

Brandon Ruckus is in the right spot where American power metal and thrash originally nurtured themselves (along with the east coast Tri-State region), and though the L.A. rock scene is slowly on the mend after a veritible decimation and deconstruction, when you listen to the control Ruckus has of his guitar that he's spent six years in developing, you're hearing a future possible virtuoso in the making.

Having played the past few years in a band called Axson, Ruckus has learned how to play within a unit as well as in an independent capacity, judging by his first solo song "Ghosts of the 21st Century." The song is chiefly molded after the early Rising Force days of Yngwie Malmsteen's career, and what's more impressive about Ruckus' playing is not the overt articulation of his playing (which he certainly has, especially when he runs amok in the final stanza of the song), but it's how smartly he plays to the main rhythm of the song. He pulls notes in long increments atop his mid-tempo shredding and then sieves out scattered note sequences in careful selections. Very mature and disciplined when most guitarists his age would seek to clout us with as many mathematic note lines as they can just to make a name.

Add a nice quiet interlude that only needs a few seconds of quicker introduction, and "Ghosts of the 21st Century" is an impressive debut cut from a young gun with his heart and mind seemingly in the right place. Remember what Yngwie sounded like in the Steeler days?

--Ray Van Horn, Jr.

Click here to visit Brandon Ruckus' MySpace page and listen to "Ghosts of the 21st Century": Brandon Ruckus' MySpace Page


Bob said...

This is great to see, but let's just hope glam doesn't follow. I'd hate to have to put out my own eyes.

Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

HAHAHAHA! Get your tweezers out because there are plenty of glam revivalists out there right now, though they're probably still considered deep underground right now.