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Mahavishnu Orchestra - The Inner Mounting Flame CD (album) cover


Mahavishnu Orchestra


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.27 | 886 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars I am new to the prog rock scene, but consider myself a fusion aficionado, and I am writing this review in response to me what seems slight underappreciation. I love all of the prog bands vetted on this site, but without a doubt none equal the viceral intensity of the Mahavishnu Orchestra, and inner mounting flame is their best release in terms of technique, but also in chemistry and compositional value. They have an edge which even the best 100% prog bands and the progier jazz-rock bands like Area and S.B.B. cannot match. The Mahavishnu Orchestra has raw soul, and each musician plays to die for the music. Inner Mounting Flame screams emotions at you every second. It is a glorious achievement not to be missed by any jazz/rock/prog/loud music lover who can open their ears. Track by track:

Meeting of the Spirits: One of the loudest and flat out best tracks ever. The opening chords are the fanfare of the millenium for the barbarity to come. On this track, Mclaughlin's soloing is perfect, that Miles Davis quality where every note has meaning.

Dawn: Beautiful ballad. I desperately wish to figure out Jan Hammer's comping. Anything else over these chords sounds either heavy or banal. You also see the real beauty in Goodman's violin here, but once again Mclaughlin's solo is the highlight, and this solo is one of the best ever, right up there with Coltrane on Resolution, Dolphy on Original Faubus Fables, George Duke on Flash Flood, Gato Barberi on Hotel Overture. Perfect arc, perfect structure, perfect song.

Noonward Race: It's Goodman's turn on this, busting out an electric solo to bring the house down. If this track proves anything, other than again being amazing, it proves how tight this ensemble was. Remember, most prog groubs have to edit their tracks to get barely close the unity of this band. Mahavishnu orchestra was all live, and all real. Noonward Race groves with a purpose, like a solid shaft of steel, unbreakable.

A Lotus on Irish Streams: All of a sudden, out of nowhere, a rubato meditation. Mclaughlin gets show off his more raga-oriented compositional side, though this is an Irish song. Its just Mclaughlin, Goodman, and Hammer on this one, but they create immense dymanic contrast, and when they stop to flourish the broad held out fermatas are sublime. Especially of note here is Hammer, doing what he does best, creating a flawless undercurrent to let the solo voices do their thing.

VITAL TRANSFORMATION: No, the caps lock button is fine, and so is this track. Tell me Billy Cobham is not the best fusion drummer ever, and I'll bust out this track. This is one of Mclaughlin's finer compositions, and while the solos are great, this to me is the drum breakbeat of a life time. All of this fusion stuff by the way (Weather Report, Return to Forever, Cobham/George Duke, Maha) predates modern grove music like Drum 'n' Bass and certianly embarasses most modern rock (save System of a Down) with its energy.

The Dance of Maya: Mclaughlin's finest compostion, maybe ever. Based on E Symmetrical and E Super locrian scales (like anyone ever uses those any more), the track is a wonder in 10, dirty and primal. it has two distinct parts, meshing at the end. The first is a sort of grove for the future, even though its a 'dance of maya', and the second is the most demented shuffle of all time. But the brilliance is in their final layering, when both melodies and harmonies are smushed together, Cobham keeing a simple and strong beat, your ears can barely follow.

You Know, You Know: This is Hammer's chances to shine. The composition is pensive, meditative, though the occasional atonal slap is ingenious. Not much to say here, but to relax. This is certianly the most unremarkable track, but most definately not underwhelming.

Awakening: Go out with a boom! Albeit, this is mostly a show of virtuosity. But the solo groves (glorious solos from each member again) are the best on the album. I'm in the middle of a lightning storm. Gotta end the review before I lose power.

Ulyssesm90 | 5/5 |


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