Thursday, July 9, 2009

Grand Halls 27

COLLOSEUM II – “Wardance” – (RCA, 1977) – When you hear the name Gary Moore, chances are you think of his more recent forays into the blues (which have gotten a tad repetition, in my opinion) or his days in and out of the Thin Lizzy line-up. That’s really natural because they’re the aspects of the brilliant Irish guitarist’s career that have been the most publicized. Even his solo rock years, involving such cool records as “Victims Of The Future” were rated much higher across the pond than on these shores. Even less in the “ink” is the short period during which Gary delivered his best guitar work and was part of one of the most musically devastating units of all-time. COLLOSEUM II was a true band of virtuosos who recorded 3 LP’s in the late ‘70’s. The style was a mindboggling amalgamation of jazz fusion, metal and progressive elements, similar (but, at times, even better than) more known outfits like Return To Forever and Mahavishnu Orchestra. The highpoint of COLLOSEUM II’s short life-span was the awesome 1977 record, “Wardance,” featuring the line-up of Gary Moore – guitar & vocals, John Mole – bass, Jon Hiseman – drums and Don Airey – keys (the latter being someone who would cross paths with Moore…er…more than once in his career). In short, the album is one that should be owned by, yes, any music fan! If you can imagine the tightest bunch of rock players ever assembled attacking brilliantly-written jazzy-yet-heavy & intricate compositions, you’ve got it. Songs like “Wardance,” “Put It This Way” and “Star Maiden / Mysterioso / Quasar” are killer musicianship beyond anything! Not “metal” in the strictest sense, but any metaller (or anyone else!) with an open mind will be blown away by “Wardance.” 10/10 War Furor

NOTE: Also recommended is COLOSSEUM’s “Electric Savage” LP, of similar style, just not quite as crazy-good. Not so focused is the band’s prior LP, “Strange New Flesh,” nowhere near as intense, making it a “for collectors only” item. If you check out COLLOSEUM II and like what you hear and, for whatever reason, have been living on another planet and have never heard it, investigate RETURN TO FOREVER – “Romantic Warrior.” It features Al DiMeola on guitar and is more godly stuff in the same vein.

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