JULY 6th 2017

Review by Ruben Mosqueda

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 30 years, you know that Rex Brown was the bassist for the ‘groove metal’ act Pantera. After the demise of Pantera he was associated with the ‘doom metal’ act Down then made a valiant effort to get some traction with the criminally underrated modern metal act Kill Devil Hill. As Kill Devil Hill is on indefinite hiatus at the moment, the next logical step was to move on a get something else going. In the case of Brown, instead of forming another band Brown elected to go solo for the first time ever.

The end result is ‘Smoke On This’ which gives Brown an opportunity to stretch out a little bit more and showcase his skills as a songwriter and musician.  Brown’s album ‘Smoke On This’ culls from classic rock to southern rock to grunge rock to contemporary rock and packages it up nicely into one bombastic blast. I’m one that feels that sequencing of an album is everything, if you have the songs to begin with and Brown has quite the cannon on this solo outing.

The driving, gritty “Train Song” is a brilliant selection as the first track to shoot the video for; it will draw in the Pantera and the Down fans but also attract the attention of southern rockers and post grunge rockers.  Brown could have easily coasted and kept with the formula in what we hear in “Lone Rider,” “Crossing Lines” or “Train Song” but he expanded his boundaries as a writer and tackled psychedelic rock with “Get Yourself Right.” You really have to hear it to believe it.  The tracks “Best of Me” and “Fault Line” could have been taken off [good] Stone Temple Pilots and Alice In Chains records.  ‘Smoke On This’ is highly recommended and surprisingly better than I could have imagined.  The album closes with the somewhat haunting and definitely emotional “One of These Days” wraps up the album brilliantly. Well done Rex Brown.