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Colosseum - Valentyne Suite CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.22 | 347 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars There are many times when I'm in the mood for some up-tempo jazzy rock, and this one usually does the trick. The highlight, of course, is the three-part Valentyne Suite, though the entire album is solid. Yet another quality addition to my collection that I owe entirely to ProgArchives!

The first side samples from many musical styles, though none of them work entirely. The Kettle is the raw rocker, with heavy bass, multiple guitar lines, and some truly restless drumming. I always enjoy it, though the vocals are not effective and can wear thin over time. Elegy is a jazzy number that sounds a stark contrast from the opener. It's light and crisp, showing the band can tighten up when they want. Butty's Blues is obviously a bluesy number, more from the style of wailing horns and impatient organ than bayou blues. Again, a good song, but nothing spectacular, and it doesn't improve meaningfully on what's been done before in the genre. The Machine Demands a Sacrifice has a bit of a Latin influence, and even has a less-than-convincing freakout to conclude. Decent tune (the flute is a welcome addition as well), but nothing to return to frequently.

The Valentyne Suite. Of course I knew to expect something interesting, but based on what came on the A side, I was not prepared for this gem. This is a series of structured jams that moves through a variety of dynamics and tempos. They really like the build style here, and I for one am thrilled! Some of the grooves work up to some truly chaotic and raw flourishes, especially from the organ. Each instrument really gets a chance to shine, and they do a great job of not jamming for too long. This baby is crisp, consice, and absolutely bursting with energy. If you can't rock to this, you need to check your pulse. I especially like the ending--a huge build, followed by a cathartic, raw refrain from earlier.

An enjoyable album, but only necessary for the Valentyne Suite epic. Because this album is not altogether coherent and not really breaking any new ground, I'll pull up short in granting it masterpiece status, though the epic has some truly incredible moments. Stronlgy recommended for fans of jazz rock. Bonus points for the album art.

Flucktrot | 3/5 |


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