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Colosseum II - Strange New Flesh CD (album) cover


Colosseum II


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.63 | 147 ratings

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4 stars Colosseum II's formation was announced at the fall of 1974 by ex-Colosseum's drummer Jon Hiseman after the demise of his former group Tempest.The main goal was to come up with a revamped version of Colosseum, intention of Hiseman was to bring over his Colosseum bandmate/bassist Mark Clarke, but only guitarist Gary Moore was an official member as of early 75', while attempts to be joined by ex-Bell + Arc's singer Graham Bell and keyboardist Duncan Mackay were also unsuccesful.By the 75' summer the line-up was eventually completed with Don Airey on keyboards, Neil Murray on bass, previously with Gilgamesh, and Mike Starrs on vocals.Their first album ''Strange new flesh'', recorded during the winter of 75'/76', was eventually released on Bronze Records in 1976.

This was a true supergroup not only on paper, as the music on this debut is really stunning, emotional, virtuosic and intricate in all its aspects.It surely kind of reminds of GREENSLADE at moments with all these influences coming from Jazz, Classical, Blues and Pop Music, but Colloseum II had definitely a more jazzy flavor as a whole plus Airey's keyboard work heavily relies on synthesizers (although some fantastic performances on clavinet and organ are still in the menu) and a revamped version of Colloseum was definitely a succesful description.The result was a captivating, jazzy Progressive Rock, starting from the flawless interplays of ''Dark side of the Moog'' and never cooling off until the very end with Moore offering his technical guitar playing next to the consistent rhythm section and Airey delivering series of monumental keyboard pyrotechnics.The album consists of four long tracks and two shorter pieces, the later being a mix of a more vocal-driven Rock with progressive flourishes in the keyboard parts.The longer ones though are absolutely fascinating Prog Fusion with solid soling, succesful breaks, numerous tempo changes and a touch of accesibility in the vocal moments.Strong jazzy vibes, bluesy guitar moves and dominant symphonic keyboards combine in an awesome way to offer marvelous, solid Progressive Rock with the foot constantly on the gas pedal.

Be informed that lots of reissues do exist with plenty of material coming from unreleased demos and sessions of the band.This is definitely a winner, an impressive combination of diverse influences, connected and executed in a professional way.Highly recommended to all lovers of adventuruous music.

apps79 | 4/5 |


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