Nza’s Review: Rex Brown smashes inner demons on ballsy “Smoke on This” solo album

Rex Brown of the legendary and now unfortunately defunct metal giant Pantera has recently resurfaced with a brand new and quite surprisingly different sounding solo effort. Smoke on This is a refreshing soul-searching and demon-squashing album that digs deep into the musical roots that have shaped the musician that Rex has become. Until now, Rex has been associated with metal since Pantera’s untimely and most definite hiatus with bands such as Down and Kill Devil Hill.

Opening the album with a kick to the feels is “Lone Rider.” You can already sense something is very different from previous efforts. A very bluesy yet ballsy road song that declares, “he takes whatever he wants.” “Crossing Lines,” the album’s first single, taps into a cross between COC and Ace Frehley with an irresistible groove. Don’t get me wrong, Smoke on This definitely shows it’s metal influence in certain parts. It doesn’t shred like Pantera, but the Southern wickedness is certainly present. Paying tribute to Dimebag Darrell in the song “Buried Alive,” the guitars scream and the pain in the lyrics make the ode that much more haunting. The standout tune for me is the Floyd-esque/STP-ish “Fault Line.” It is reminiscent of Pantera’s take on Sabbath’s “Planet Caravan.” The guitars echo and the melody is beautiful. Definitely a good tune to chill to and catch a breath. 

Rex recorded the guitars, bass, and vocals on the album with the help and assistance of Nashville’s Lance Harvill. Rex has been quoted by saying Harvill was his “right hand man” for this project. Christopher Williams provides the drums on the album. His previous work has been recently linked to the legendary German metal band Accept. 

Smoke on This definitely deserves a listen, Pantera fan or not. I look forward to seeing these songs live. -NzaSixx

3.5 Stars

Smoke on This Track Listing 

1. “Lone Rider”

2. “Crossing Lines”

3. “Buried Alive”

4. “Train Song”

5. “Get Yourself Alright”

6. “Fault Line”

7. “What Comes Around …”

8. “Grace”

9. “So Into You”

10. “Best of Me”

11. “One of These Days”

For everything Rex Brown go to RexBrown.Net

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