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Colosseum II - Electric Savage CD (album) cover

ELECTRIC SAVAGE

Colosseum II

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.63 | 64 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars All skins and Moore

"Electric savage" was the second album to be released under the name Colosseum II. Now down to a quartet after the departure of vocalist Mike Starrs the band effectively became an instrumental jazz fusion unit, although Gary Moore's credits here do include vocals. The album was recorded in seven days on a live basis.

As with their debut album this is unusual territory for Moore who is better known for, and apparently more comfortable in, heavy rock and blues. That aside though he is the dominant instrumentalist here, keyboard player Don Airey's role being primarily to enhance the overall sound.

The first two tracks, "Put it this way" and "All skin and bone" are good but rather anonymous fusion workouts, in a Brand X sort of way. They find Moore in good form on guitar, while never really offering anything particularly notable.

"The river" is very much a Garry Moore song, his fine vocals giving lie to the notion that this is a completely instrumental album. The song is in the vein of his wonderful ballads such as "Empty rooms" and "Still got the blues" although perversely it lacks his unique guitar sound which characterised those tracks. Airey finally takes lead role for "The scorch", a fine "Abadon's bolero" like synth workout.

"Lament" is closer to Moore's blues influences, his guitar echoing the sound of bagpipes on this fine, reflective piece. "Desperado" returns to the improvisation of the first two tracks, there being not a hint of anything remotely wild west though! Moore's guitar work is the dominant force again on the slower "Am I" which moves back towards his blues comfort zone. The album closes with "Intergalactic strut", where the band effectively race for the finishing line at breakneck speed. The playing is technically magnificent but from an entertainment perspective it leaves me rather cold.

As with most drummers who leads the band, Hiseman feels the need to place his drums well forward in the mixes, and to embellish them well beyond what is actually required. Those for whom the drums are the main focus when listening to music will undoubtedly appreciate what they hear, but for me such a style is too intrusive.

It is perhaps obvious from the slant of my review that I much prefer Gary Moore when he is delivering the blues, or one of his thunderous rock performances. Consequently, this album is a mixed bag for me. Some of the fusion workouts leave me cold, but these are adequately compensated for by the melodic highs of the rock orientated numbers.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |

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