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Maelstrom - Maelstrom CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.61 | 41 ratings

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kev rowland
Special Collaborator
Honorary Reviewer
3 stars This American band were formed in the early Seventies, and were led by guitarist/keyboardist/sax player Robert Williams, while the rest of the line-up was multi- instrumentalist James Larner, keyboardist Mark Knox, drummer Jim Miller, bassist Paul Klotzbier and Jeff McMullen on lead vocals/guitars. This album is a reissue of their debut, which came out in 1973 with the title 'On The Gulf', along with two additional songs recorded in concert in 1980 (although the line-up had changed dramatically by then). If this album had come out just a few years earlier I am sure that these guys would be household names by now, but the tide was already shifting by 1973 and this album would have be seen to be a little dated even then.

This is something that really belongs at the end of the Sixties, with psychedelia having a huge impact on the overall sound. The use of saxophone combined with the guitar does give the music a somewhat fusion sound but for the most part doesn't really belong in that genre (the problem with trying to pigeonhole music is that music isn't a pigeon, so often doesn't fit where people think it might ? cue long discussion on what is progressive music anyway). But, whatever genre it may or may not belong to, the important question is it any good? Well, it is definitely dated not only musically but also in the arrangements and production, but is something that I really enjoyed playing. The guys obviously spent a lot of time together and this comes off with the interaction, and the use of different ideas such as vibraphone on "Law and Crime" which gives the song a very different feel with the (dated) drums driving it along while Jeff provides good strong vocals.

It is an effective album, definitely belonging to a bygone era, but is still something that while not essential is certainly worth hearing.

kev rowland | 3/5 |


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