"The Master Plan" is an amazing piece of work! Of course, the playing is world class which I didn't doubt for a second but the overall sound quality is really incredible"
- Brett Garsed
"... one of the strongest works I've heard in years!!!! The playing was really strong throughout. I love the tone, but the writing just blew my socks clean off!"
- Guitarist, Teacher and Mel Bay Publications Author Jon Finn (on "The Master Plan")
"Brooks is the kind of guitar player who we should all strive to be like. He puts melody first and shred second. Chris never compromises the integrity of a song to show off how fast he can speed-pick or play arpeggios. His goal is to suck you and squeeze the juice right out of you."
- Nick Martinelli, The Shred Zone
Sure, Chris Brooks plays the guitar. And when he's done it with members of Black Sabbath/Heaven and Hell, Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force and Aussie metal band LORD, he must be pretty good at it! But guitar work aside, Chris Brooks *communicates* on his instrument. "Chris definitely has something to say!" is how respected Swedish rock journalist Janne Stark described Brooks' penchant for melodic themes and creative songwriting, and say something he does.
In the last five years, Chris Brooks has recorded and released a well-received solo album ("The Master Plan", sold to fans in over 25 countries), written and recorded with former Yngwie Malmsteen vocalist Mark Boals (for the "Edge Of The World" album also featuring Steve Vai band member Tony MacAlpine), performed clinics and live shows in Sydney Australia, played live with the band Feeding The Addiction, become the highest selling artist in the 'progressive rock' and 'metal' categories at American CD retailer Guitar Nine Records, and commenced writing guitar instructional material for future publication.
Coming from the country that produced internationally acclaimed guitarists Frank Gambale, Brett Garsed and Tommy Emmanuel, it was pretty obvious to a 10 year old Chris Brooks that he if wanted to play the guitar, he'd better be good at it. Initially inspired by the wave of revolutionary fretwork in the 1980s, Brooks learned whatever he could, without imitating his early heroes, taking on the challenges without being intimidated.
The son of drummer Ken Brooks (who backed local and international acts touring on the Sydney club circuit including Aussie megastar John Farnham in 1973), Chris developed a fascination with the guitar that kept him practicing for hours with material he picked up from instructional videos and guitar magazines. After leaving high school, Brooks slaved over his instrument, making it through to the second heats of the Ibanez-sponsored / MTV-televised "Rebel Yell Guitar Challenges" in 1991 and 1992. Brooks then enrolled at Sydney's Australian Institute of Music, where he benefited from the teachings guitar players like Dieter Kleemann (Sydney session player) and the late jazz legend Ike Isaacs, working throughout the remainder of the nineties playing in various clubs on the Sydney circuit, on local bands' demo recordings, and teaching up to 50 students a week.
In 2000, Brooks took a self-imposed hiatus from performing and teaching whilst he wrote and recorded the music for what would become his debut solo album "The Master Plan" (released on March 8, 2002). The album was "something I had to do", according to Brooks, who noted that "I lived, breathed, ate and slept every part of this CD until it was done. I had a hard time focusing on anything but this music because the drive to make a statement was so strong".
On "The Master Plan", Chris Brooks showcased his instrumental and compositional prowess with style and taste. Through the melodic grace of tracks like 'Blue Sky Odyssey' and 'Inner Light', the creative modern prog-rock excursions of 'Kryptica', 'Crack In The Hourglass' and the three-part title track, the energetic fusion overtones of 'Funksion', to the soulful fret-melting of 'Tales From A Distant Sky', Brooks shows that there's plenty on offer for guitar freaks, prog-rockers and metal fans alike. The guitar is Brooks' voice, whether he's using it to whisper or scream. The crying guitars of "Only Time" and the reckless abandon of "Kryptica" illustrate the extremes at work. And despite his skills on the guitar, Brooks' first priorities are the songs, melodies and messages conveyed to the listener. "I love to build themes and melodies that people will remember, as well as conjure up the best guitar performance I can", says Brooks. "The songs are the heart of the art for me, and keeping that balance of memorable compositions and great musicianship is my own Master Plan".
After getting the album released in Japan through the Disk Union retail chain and receiving a 4-star (out of 5) review in Japan's metal bible BURRN! Magazine, Brooks was contacted by Yngwie Malmsteen / Ring Of Fire vocalist Mark Boals with an offer to appear on Boals' solo album "Edge of the World" (released in Japan by Marquee Inc and in the rest of the world by Frontiers Records). The album was almost complete before the invitation was made, but the Brooks/Boals collaboration "Fly" turned out so well that it was used to open the album, and was also snapped up for Frontiers Records' 2002 compilation CD "Rock the Bones". Other musicians on "Edge of the World" include drummers Vinny Appice and Virgil Donati, keyboardist Erik Norlander, and guitarists Tony MacAlpine, Jeff Kollman, and Neil Citron. In an interview to promote his solo album, Boals said of Brooks "his first solo was a self-produced masterpiece! I knew he was a really talented guy then, and he proved it again when I asked if he would like to join in my solo album. Everyone should watch out for this guy!".
Brooks joined the commercial rock band Feeding The Addiction in 2004 and spent 2005 recording and playing live with the band before leaving to focus on instrumental music once again.
Chris Brooks is keen to build on the reputation and respect he has accumulated in the last couple of years, planning a number of projects for 2006, including a second solo album, more guest appearances and touring within Australia and possibly internationally. The "mystical listening experience", as one critic described it, is just getting started.