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ARZ - Welcome to the Universe!

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ARZ is the moniker given to the two-man progressive rock act comprised of guitarist Steve Adams (left) and drummer Merrill Hale (right...with the lovely and talented, Lisa LaRue, in the middle).

The two Portland, OR area musicians met and cemented their working relationship while both were members of the local Yes tribute act, All Good People (AGP).

ARZ had previously been Adams' one-man instrumental band (playing all guitars, bass and programmed drums) who released four CDs: two from 2005 ('Serai' and 'The Magi') and two in 2007 ('The Last Kingdom' and 'Solomon's Key'). These recordings present the guitarist's wide influences ranging from classical to hard rock and metal, with an emphasis on unison riffing and balanced songwriting and arrangements.

Upon the demise of AGP, Adams established a kindred relationship with Merrill Hale based on the two's passion for classic progressive rock and creating their own vocal-based originals. Adams had been looking to revisit his ARZ project with the right chemistry to craft pieces focused on complex arrangements, but with a more direct approach.

Preview WindowThe result can be heard specifically on 'Solomon's Key' (ARZ' 4th album) that features Hale's hand and footwork on the title track and 'Burning Bush.' The percussionist fits the bill as Adams' right-hand man and prime collaborator coming from the Neil Peart/Alan White school of "take no prisoners" drumming style.

The duo's focus is on par with stripped down acts such as the Benevento Russo Duo who rely exclusively on electronics and musician interplay to get their point across to audiences.

The incorporation of MIDI [Musical Instrument Digital Interface] instrumentation allows them to play multiple parts at once giving them a full band sound on stage as well as in the studio.

New pieces such as 'Hope and Glory' revive the passion of vintage Emerson, Lake and Palmer, while other tracks such as 'Light the Sky' and 'Birth of a Hero' present Adams as a competent singer drawing from influences such as Rush and Jethro Tull.

ARZ is in the process of preparing their 5th album and is generating major label interest.

By Jeff Melton, Staff Writer, Expos


Preview WindowThe Last Kingdom was originally written intended to be a soundtrack for an RPG onlinecomputer game. Unfortunately, funding for the project failed to materialize. However,aside from this, good music was produced. I was given full creative license, just a brief description ofthe locations and moods of the game scenes.
While being blown away by the song samples, read Steve's track-by-track notes.



Preview WindowThe Magi, the brilliant follow-up to Serai, is an even more progressive opus than its predecessor.

Also containing two superb epic length tracks, this CD shows the amazing level of Adams' musicianship.




Preview WindowSerai, written and performed entirely by Steve Adams (prior to his collaboration with Merrill Hale), is an album for the guitar aficionado. So, if you're a fan of Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Steve Hackett (you get the picture)...this is a must listen...and a must buy!!





Also, give a listen to Steve and Merrill's excellent work on Lisa LaRue's, "Fast and Blue," which also features John Payne (Asia featuring John Payne), Ryo Okumoto (Spock's Beard, GPS), Michael Sadler (Saga) and Don Schiff (Rocket Scientists).

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