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A Helmet of Gnats - A Helmet Of Gnats II CD (album) cover

A HELMET OF GNATS II

A Helmet of Gnats

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.94 | 27 ratings

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Squire Jaco
4 stars A Helmet of Gnats has been around in various incarnations since around 1980, playing music of bands like U.K., Return to Forever, Zappa, Brand X, Happy the Man, Ponty, Focus and the Dixie Dregs along the way. You can hear the amalgamation of these bands in the unique sound of their second eponymous cd...and it is simply SUPERB!

All of the band members attended Berklee College of Music at one point or another, and their pedigrees show up in the flawless chops they exhibit. Guitarist Chris Fox plays some very melodic lines with a sound that reminds me most of Allan Holdsworth and Jeff Beck in many places. Influenced by Rick Wakeman and Eddie Jobson, Matt Bocchino provides a great symphonic rock background to much of this jazz fusion, frequently favoring the organ as his weapon of choice. Bass player Wayne Zito lists Chris Squire as one of his influences, but I hear a lot of fretless bass a la Jaco Pastorius and the like. And drummer Mark Conese is more on the jazz side of drumming (think Bill Bruford and Billy Cobham), but he keeps a strong, confident groove driving these songs as well.

If I could fantasize an all-instrumental supergroup of Beck, Jobson, Squire and Cobham, it would sound like this! They do not disappoint, folks - very energetic and interesting, with original and complex compositions.

The 3-1/2 minute "Lesser Beings" is the only quirky/spacy track that they could have left off the album (and delighted me even more). But the rest of the album is fast-paced, melodic, fusiony, groove-driven, symphonic progressive rock bliss...and gnats a fact ;-)

Squire Jaco | 4/5 |

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