BUMBLEFOOT — Ron Thal / The Adventures Of Bumblefoot (review)

BUMBLEFOOT — Ron Thal / The Adventures Of Bumblefoot album cover Album · 1995 · Progressive Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
siLLy puPPy
I first discovered Ron Thal aka Bumblefoot (now playing with Guns N Roses) on Shrapnel Records' virtuoso guitarist showcase CD “Ominious Guitarists From The Unknown.” Out of the 10 or so guitarists featured, one stood out like a sore thumb, or should I say foot. That song was “Chopin Fantasie” and as the title suggests it is based on a Chopin song “Scherzo No 1 in B minor” but adds twists and turns and even multi-genres to the extremely precise and creative cut. I was hooked. I immediately sought out other albums beginning with his first release titled THE ADVENTURES OF BUMBLEFOOT

After one listen, I was blown away. How could a guitarist be this good and why was he so obscure and unknown? This is the album that showed me that one can be a virtuoso in ALL the genres often simultaneously. Bumblefoot successfully fuses rock and metal vibrancy with pop sensibilities and progressive layerings and outbursts, jazzy rhythms and chords, funk, flamenco and even ragtime, often with sounds I don't think existed before all jumbled together in not a chaotic way, but in a logical amazingly complex way. In short, imagine Frank Zappa, Steve Vai, Mr. Bungle and maybe Django Rheinhardt all fused together into one person. That is the closest analogy I can think of in describing this album. To make it even more original he built all his guitars himself. He is proudly displaying his famous Swiss cheese guitar on the back cover.

Although the production on this is very good, this is a one-man show recorded entirely on a sixteen-track and does contain drum machines and synths for horns. Never bothers me since it's done so well. A masterpiece of musical masturbation if there ever was one

Since there no other reviews on this album I will give a short description of each cut as they are all so very different. All the songs are named after animal diseases (his wife is a veterinarian)

1. Bumblefoot .....Jazzy-funky metal. Lots of twists and turns and soloing. Expect the unexpected but in a pleasing way.

2. Orf .....One of my favorites. Pastoral guitar makes you feel like your flying on a breeze accompanied by strange breaks, alien solos and liberal use of a thimble

3. Scrapie .....A more straight-on jazzy rocker with less progressive tendencies but bass heavy and catchy

4. Blue Tongue .....Another favorite. More jazz-funk metal with skat type vocal breaks, dueling guitars, call-and-response guitars with bass, audience type shouting and of course, scorching solos

5. Limberneck .....A little ditty that is a kinda countrified ragtime piece. Very short, but very pleasant

6. Q Fever .....Anyone for 70s funk Bumblefoot style? Beefy bass funk with progressive time signatures, odd solos, vocals as an instrument. Another favorite!

7. Strawberry Footrot .....Another straight-on jazzy rocker with unexpected additions

8. Ick .....Flamenco and prog metal playing together like good little kids. Excellent use of drum machine

9. Malignant Carbuncle .....Backmasking guitar wankery. Not what you expect!

10. Rinderpest .....The ballad. Time to relax before the next cut. One of my least favorites but has grown on me

11. Strangles .....The most progressive. The most frenetic. I'm not sure how to describe this. It is like nothing I have ever heard before. An all-time favorite! Makes me think of aliens on speed

12. Fistulous Withers .....A lugubrious sounding closer (a pre-mystery track successor). A reflective slower piece. Not highlighting much except for the mood

13. *Poem 14. *Shell On The Sand .....Although these are listed on here, they are simply embedded in track 12 on the original release as mystery tracks. I'll let you discover their mystery for yourselves. Maybe it's different on the re-release

Long out of print until recently, the re-release contains bonus tracks of the “Wild Woody” soundtrack, a SEGA game from the 90s

What can I say? Thumbs way up on this one. One of my all-time favorite albums. Despite being a one-man project this album sounds full. More creativity displayed on this one album than most bands muster up in an entire career.
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