Lion Music
Release Date: November 11, 2005

User Review
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Brave New World (BNW) is a European-based band that actually culminated from a group named Passion Street, which contained Brave New World’s vocalist, Rick Cartey. Passion Street released a debut album and saw some limited success by backing up bands like Peter Frampton, Enuff Z’ Nuff and Aces High. Since then, the band has gone through several personnel changes with Cartey being a consistent member. After so many line-up changes, choosing a new name was inevitable, and Brave New World was born. Monsters represents BNW’s debut release and it certainly has the formula to be a winner.

The musical foundation that Monsters is built on is Melodic Hard Rock, but BNW instill many twists and turns to keep the music from sounding predictable and mundane. Monsters is best categorized as Melodic Hard Rock that is reminiscent of early (Vivid era) Living Colour, mixed in with occasional hints of Saga and Mr. Mister thrown in for diversity. BNW seem to have a knack for throwing in Progressive segues, keyboard jabs, off beat drumming patterns, and voice overdubs to keep the music sounding different and fresh. The edge of the blade is Pat Heath (Vaughn) and his guitar playing, which tends to give the music a heavier versus harder sound.

The album is composed of nine tracks with the opening four representing the highlight tracks. Album opener, “Knife In My Back,” kicks into high gear with an infectious, high energy groove. Here’s where the Living Colour reference comes immediately into play, especially with Cartey’s vocal presentation sounding very similar to Living Colour’s Corey Glover. Throw in some monstrous Heath riffing and a vivid guitar solo, and this one is a clear winner, hands down! “Arabia” is next and is built on a Mid-Eastern feel, with some nice, interesting, almost African drum rolling. It’s the little things like this that keeps BNW’s music interesting. Playle’s keyboards always remain consistently in the background, never too strong, but just loud enough so that his presence can be felt to add the underlying mood. “Strange Days” rides a slower tempo, and begins with some ominous, “chunky” riffing, which only leads the listener into an infectious melodic chorus. Also, interspersed with the riffing is some nice Space Age-sounding keyboard fills. All comes to a head with a sharp, barb-wired Heath guitar solo and ends with a nice Symphonic fade out. “I Want You” is an absolute winner, which opens with some Richard Page-like (Mr. Mister) guitar chords, which take you into a mid-tempo Rocker. Once again, the band keeps things interesting with a progressive Saga-like mid-section, all based around a voice overdub of a stalker on the phone with our damsel in distress, “Grace.” One would be remiss not to mention the amazing rhythm section of Brown, and especially, drummer Folstadl, whose influences obviously include Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater), Neil Peart (Rush), and one of Fusion’s greatest drummers, Dennis Chambers.

Bottom line, Monsters is sort of the “thinking man’s” Melodic Hard Rock, as Brave New World has the ability to introduce those nuances that keep the music sounding interesting, although it’ll take several listens to hear all the “little things” that are going on during each track. The release also represents a nice slab of work by some up-and-coming musicians in guitarist Pat Heath and drummer Tommy Folstadl. Overall, it’s a very impressive start for a band whose personnel changes have hopefully ceased, as all will wait impatiently for a second release!


Rick Cartey – Vocals
Pat Heath – Guitar
Tommy Folstadl – Drums
Cris J Playle – Keyboards
Stu Brown – Bass


  • Scott Jeslis

    Scott is one of the partners at Metal Express Radio. He handles a lot of Metal Express Radio's public relations, screening of new music and radio scheduling. On occasion, he also does reviews and interviews. He has been a proud member of the Metal Express Radio crew since 2004.

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