Exposé Online banner

Fourth Estate — Finesse and Fury
(Hapi Skratch HS 70001, 1992, CD)

Fourth Estate — See What I See
(Hapi Skratch 70002, 1995, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 1997-02-01

Finesse and Fury Cover artSee What I See Cover art

This writer was completely unfamiliar with Fourth Estate prior to their performance on day one of Progscape II, but apparently they've been around a while — certainly long enough to release two CDs (and two cassettes before that). A power guitar trio that hails from Fort Collins, Colorado, one might compare them to the Steve Morse band, as they rip through a number of different styles with relative ease, axeman Dave Beegle driving the show with his Transperformance DTS (a guitar which can be automatically retuned while it's being played) and solidly supported by bassist Fred Babich and drummer Dave Spurr (Jim Iltis on the earlier album). The compositions tend to be melody driven, full of power and punch, and while not particularly complex — and perhaps more pure rock than prog, they are nonetheless incisive, gripping, and tasty. There isn't a dull moment on either of these discs.

The earlier disc opens with a rousing cover of Bach's "Ode to Joy," then moves into a short atmospheric piece that leads directly into the more fusion-based "Grunt Rock," featuring Beegle's trademark guitar pyrotechnics. Once you think you've got the band all figured out, they drop in "Mason Street Shuffle," which in a parallel world would be called a bluegrass tune. And so it continues, bouncing around a variety of styles but always touching home in that slightly fusion-tinged instrumental power rock area inhabited by folks like Bonilla, Eric Johnson, and the aforementioned Morse. Purists indeed, they make it clear in the liner notes that no keyboards, synths, or sequencers were used on either disc.

See What I See uses a slightly heavier approach, with longer tracks offering more room for the band to stretch out, and the integration of some new influences, apparent on the title track, "Crazy Ivan" and the three part "Kara Kum." Stylistically, this album is more cohesive; rather than the patchwork of styles represented on the first, this one flows better from one track to the next. And did I mention heavier? Certainly Jimi's influence is everywhere, but nowhere more than on "Primal Roots," a short interlude that leads into the hard-rocking "Hammer Song," and "Blue Flame," which brings the Hendrixian blues element to the fore. In short, the later disc is stronger on a pure emotional level, but both of these discs are exceptional, must-haves for any fan of instrumental guitar rock.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 11, 1992 releases, 1995 releases

Related artist(s): Fourth Estate

More info
http://davebeegle.bandcamp.com/album/finesse-and-fury-fourth-estate

Latest news

2019-03-20
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more

2019-03-03
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more

2019-02-21
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more

2019-01-31
Keyboardist Ingo Bischof R.I.P. – Keyboard player Ingo Bischof, best known as the longtime keyboard player of German band Kraan, passed away on January 29th, 2019. Bischof was born January 2, 1951 in Berlin-Kreuzberg and joined Kraan in 1975. » Read more

2019-01-11
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Thinking Plague - A History of Madness – Most music critics (and listeners too) tend to get caught up in the genre game when describing music. We think in terms of qualities like loud/soft, electric/acoustic, rocks/doesn’t. But there...  (2003) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues