Get this crazy baby off my head!



M.C.M - 1900:Hard Times - 2007 - Lion Music

This is one of the sickest live albums in the history of fusion music,jazz rock fusion ,or jazz metal fusion,or whatever it may be called!Anyway-this impressive album proves that improvisional music can be done at a superior level by some amazing musicians,when alchemy and telepathic musical feelings exists between them!We have here the sensational Italian axeman ALEX MASI and the rhythm section of ARK-criminal drummer John Macaluso and monster bass player Randy Coven!For me,this album has a true feeling of pure magical wizzardry and reminds me a lot about the great synergy between Shawn Lane ,Jonas Hellborg and Jeff Sipe!It's amazing from the technical point of view-jaw dropping I must say-a pure lesson in virtuosity and musicianship!Not even a single second of boredom-just perpetual discovery of unknown musical territories,in terms of virtuosity and amazing technical chops ,technical frenzy!Fans of Masi,will adore this album-the guy is totally unleashed here-but the other 2 monsters are phenomenal too!I repeat-a major album for jazz metal fusion-and the LIVE feeling is astonishing!5 STARS for a musical bomb! - ***** © Ovidiu | 5/5 | 2012-3-8 © Prog Archives, All rights reservedhttp://www.progarchives.com/Review.asp?id=651107

Ever since I decided the drumming on Judas Priest's Sin After Sinalbum was awesome and investigated what else Simon Phillips had played on, I've been struggling with the genre of fusion. At turns mind-bendingly interesting or insufferably boring, it's a field plagued with players who are a little too conscious of their own skills. I generally find that metal guys dabble in it more effectively than many of the style's natives, as metal musicians often come from areas that still require high levels of musicianship, but depend on a structured and coherent song (as opposed to formless jazz leanings, which are cool and all but not really for me). So here we have 3 metal veterans, in the truest sense of the word. Alex Masi is a world-class, conservatory-trained six-stringer with a storied history, from Grammy nominations (for 1989's Attack of the Neon Sharkalbum, which featured the maniacal Allan Holdsworth) on Metal Blade to neoclassical solo guitar albums to heavy fusion and all sorts of sessions in between. Bass wiz Randy Coven has done time in Riot, Holy Mother, and the revolving door circus that is Yngwie's band. Drummer John Macaluso has also played with all 3 of those bands as well as countless others like Ark, Starbreaker, Mullmuzzler, Powermad, TNT, Chris Caffery, and probably other ones I'm forgetting. Great. So you know who these guys are, and you know they can play. Whether you like the music or not depends on how technical your tastes get. I dug the hell out of MCM's 2004 debut album, Ritual Factory. It was everything I ever hoped for from the likes of Liquid Tension Experiment or even Derek Sherinian's later material, metal that was forward-thinking and incorporated tons of other styles into the mix, whether it be prog, Latin music, you name it, while packing hooks and instrumental grooves to wet a listener's pants. This live album of all-new material takes that versatile approach a step further. If you don't like prog/fusion, heavy or otherwise, stop reading. More Mahavishnu Orchestra than Weather Report (although you should hear these guys cover "Black Market" on their debut, it's an absolute screamer), MCM take the term "fusion" and continue to bend it around their own peculiar whims. The drumming is furious, full of off-kilter linear patterns that resolve into blistering Bonham-style pocket grooves. I don't know how Johnny Mac does it, but for all his chops, it always sounds SO good. Randy Coven plucks away furious behind him, providing the bottom end for an impossibly on-point rhythm section that supports Masi's jagged riffage and fretboard theatrics. Sometimes Masi will take the back seat, providing Fripp-like atmosphere for the pulsing rhythm section, as drums definitely command attention in the blistering "Esse'n'Emme"'s Latin fervor and drum 'n bass chops, while John & Randy continue to steal the spotlight in the rollicking funk of"Unmatched Fragment". The opening title track sounds like a band about to fly off the handle, until you listen past the mysteriously in-sync breaks and fluid changes and realize it's all frighteningly calculated. "Raw Extremities" is a funky chug monster that sets the stage for the blessedly and beautifully melodic "River Offering", a song that outdoes anything a tuneful axeman like Satriani could hope to write, while injecting faint Indian strains. Going back to Simon Phillips, imagine the most out-there stuff he ever did with Jeff Beck run through some kind of eccentric metallic filter, with a touch of Billy Cobham's Spectrum. Masi's playing is admittedly a little jazzy at times with its unorthodox approach to chord progressions and dynamic sense of rhythm, and it works beautifully and gives some much-needed identity to this power trio for the calm, crushing grooves of songs like "The Ground Above", which wouldn't have sounded out of place on Macaluso's recent solo outing. No guitarist raised strictly on by-the-books metal could have come up with the exotic and elegant "30 Seconds Over Your Land". So yeah, I'm kind of a sucker for well-done fusion or heavy progressive music. If that sounds like it's up your alley, get ready to fry your brain listening to these wonderfully raw live recordings, warts 'n all, of 3 guys pushing their limits. More for the instrumentally inclined, it's a wild ride. Not for the faint of heart. By & © Will Schwartz November 28, 2007 © 2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd. http://www.hellridemusicforums.com/forum/showthread.php?t=16146

A reviewer on metal-observer.com makes the comment that “My problem with this record is the guitar playing. More specifically, the lead playing. It’s just that sometimes, the guitar lines just degenerates into chaotic chromatic playing, losing all sense of melody while not building any sense of dissonance or tension, and it results in the guitar playing to sound a bit like a guitar exercise going on in the middle of a jam session. The drummer & bassist are almost breathing together, and the guitar player is off in his own world doing something completely different, and it undermines the whole mood achieved throughout the song. Yea, it’s one problem, but it occurs frequently enough to be noticeable and drag down the album for me. Recommended if you like Fusion/Jazz stuff. It’s worth a listen”. This is an important point, especially with regard to “The drummer & bassist are almost breathing together, and the guitar player is off in his own world doing something completely different, and it undermines the whole mood achieved throughout the song.” However, the tracks on this album are improvised. These guys have not composed these tracks with pre-determined guitar parts, bass lines, or rhythm patterns. The “chaos” if that is the right word to use resulting from this improvised music is what makes this album so extraordinary. The music may be “unstructured” but these guys are masters of innovation and creative originality, and the music is raw, aggressive, spontaneous, impulsive, yet played with a tight groove..This is very technical and complex music but brilliantly played by three masters of the jazz fusion genre. HR by A.O.O.F.C. If you don’t regard this kind of music as worthwhile, I would urge you to give it a miss. These albums are not released to try and overtake One Direction in the “music” charts! LOL! Visit the band members' websites at www.alexmasi.net orwww.johnmacaluso.com or www.randycovensite.com For music in the same genre, check out Wayne Krantz [All tracks @ 320 Kbps: File size = 136 Mb]


1. (1900) Hard Times 4:29
2. Raw Extremities 4:32
3. River Offering 5:17
4. Emergency Poncho 4:34
5. Mutual Assured Distraction 5:05
6. The Ground Above 5:52
7. Them Ain't Us 4:17
8. 30 Seconds Over Your Land 4:23
9. Esse'n'Emme 3:58
10. Unmatched Fragment 4:27
11. House of Deviants 4:37
12. For Every Color You Know 5:26

All tracks composed by Alex Masi, Randy Coven, & John Macaluso


Alex Masi - Guitars
Randy Coven - Bass
John Macaluso - Drums


A.O.O.F.C said...


P/W is aoofc

francisco santos said...

nice one !...THX

A.O.O.F.C said...

No probs,Francisco my friend. TVM & TTUL...Paul