As a bassist and composer, Bryan Beller (THE ARISTOCRATS, JOE SATRIANI, DETHKLOK, STEVE VAI) has never been accused of being insufficiently driven. But nothing he's done before can truly prepare audiences for his newest release, the massively ambitious and unapologetically progressive double concept album "Scenes From The Flood", scheduled for worldwide release on September 13.
A work so sweeping in scale that it took Beller nearly a decade to conceive, compose, and now fully realize, the album grapples with an existential question: When the storm comes for us, the big one after which things will not be the same, who are we and what do we become in those defining moments? What do we keep, and what do we let go? "Scenes From The Flood" explores themes of ambition and loss, intentionality and reality, hope and disillusionment, and uses every second of its 18-song, 88-minute running order to tell an emotionally consuming and unforgettable musical story.
Realizing Beller's vision meant enlisting 26 musicians spread across four continents to bring "Scenes From The Flood" to life. Special guests on guitar include legends Joe Satriani (on the optimistic, "road trip"-vibed opening track "Volunteer State"), DREAM THEATER's John Petrucci (who lays down a screaming lead on the nine-minute story-climactic progressive epic "World Class"), Guthrie Govan (taking the lead on the album's closing ballad "Sweet Water"), and Mike Keneally (going from layered acoustics on one track to furious metal riffing on another), just four of fourteen total guitarists who appear on the album. Drummers include veterans Gene Hoglan (DETHKLOK, STRAPPING YOUNG LAD, DEATH), Joe Travers (ZAPPA PLAYS ZAPPA, JOE SATRIANI), Ray Hearne (HAKEN) and Nate Morton (CHER, THE VOICE).
The animated video for one of the album's signature tunes, "The Storm", a dark and heavy odyssey that serves as one of the signature compositions of Beller's new opus, can be seen below. The seven-minute piece features the aforementioned metal legend Gene Hoglan on drums and an army of four guitarists to deliver the song's urgent, powerful message.
"Not exactly light fare, is it?" chuckles Beller, who just turned 48. "But all of my truly favorite albums take me to deep, sometimes challenging places, even upon repeated listening. Especially the double albums. Somewhere inside me, in the eleven years since my last solo album, I'd absorbed and processed a series of life experiences that, I thought, could possibly inform an extended work like this. I felt like I had something big and complex to say. And then I just dove into it."
Presented in the classic format of four vinyl sides (or four "parts" on two CDs), "Scenes From The Flood" was inspired by hallowed progressive double-albums like PINK FLOYD's "The Wall" and YES's "Tales From Topographic Oceans", as well as more modern expanded works, such as NINE INCH NAILS' "The Fragile". The deluxe packaging (2CD 8-panel digipak + two 20-page double-CD booklets; 2LP gatefold + 24-page full-size booklet) reveals not just album artwork, but unique cover-style artwork for each of the eighteen songs, or "scenes". The resulting sense of story urgency and dramatic narrative presents like a soundtrack to a movie suspense thriller as much as it does a double album. A limited run of 200 colored (purple) vinyl will also be produced.
"Scenes From The Flood" is performed by Christopher Allis, Bryan Beller, Nili Brosh, Paul Cartwright, Darran Charles, Julian Coryell, Mike Dawes, Janet Feder, Guthrie Govan, Ray Hearne, Gene Hoglan, Mike Keneally, Jamie Kime, Fred Kron, Teddy Kumpel, Jake Howsam Lowe, Evan Mazunik, Nate Morton, Rick Musallam, Mike Olekshy, Griff Peters, John Petrucci, Matt Rohde, Joe Satriani, Rishabh Seen, Joe Travers and Leah Zeger.
01. The Scouring Of Three & Seventeen
02. Volunteer State
03. Everything And Nothing
04. A Quickening
05. Steiner In Ellipses
01. Always Worth It
02. Lookout Mountain
03. The Storm
04. The Flood
02. As Advertised
03. Army Of The Black Rectangles
04. The Outer Boundary
05. Angles & Exits
01. The Inner Boundary
02. World Class
03. Sweet Water
04. Let Go Of Everything
For more information on Bryan Beller and "Scenes From The Flood", visit BryanBeller.com.
Photo credit: Jon Luini