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Fire Merchants - Landlords of Atlantis  CD (album) cover


Fire Merchants


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.59 | 12 ratings

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Dick Heath
Special Collaborator
Jazz-Rock Specialist
3 stars 3.8stars

A number of details about this band and album are wrong here. The album was released in 1992. A date clear in my mind, since I was asked by the president of Renaissance Records in San Diego, what I thought of the album for a possible European release. And quite clearly with two thirds of the band for both recordings being American, and John Goodsall exiling himself on the West Coast, this is an American band. Indeed neither of Firemerchants' albums got UK release. And for recording purposes Goodsall renamed the Firemerchants, Brand X West (e.g. for one of those King Crimson tribute albums), when BX's remaining members were arguing the toss over ownership of the name - Percy Jones had Brand X East in NYC, which effectively became Tunnels (and Goodsall is known to guest).

I've also called this an early example of metal jazz fusion (Shaun Baxter's Jazz Metal being released about the same time), and what I heard on several tracks had me going further coining the term 'grunge jazz rock' (1992 was around the height of grunge). Landlords of Atlantis stuck me as a jazz rock album that had quite a bit new and dynamic about it. But it needed a sympathetic producer to provide vigorous advice on its contents. The title track is wonderful for the first 2minutes 30seconds (or there abouts), but Goodsall has the bit between his teeeth and noodles on for double that length of time: a classic example of less is more. I'm told the record company thought this track was self-indulgent - there is an explanation but I daren't repeat it here. The best complete tracks are 9 28 91, Sybil (my favourite on which Goodsall on guitar and Midi travels seamlessly through several forms of heavy rock), Flamekeeper, (And Again) Hamsterdam (a rerun from the first album) and Thing 15. The remaining tracks are far from bad but the ones I like are so much better and have been played on a regular basis since 1992 - the title track with it s sampled US marine corp trailing song, English church bells, always gets play for 2.30!

A good jazz rock album of powerful playing but inconsistent - and way better than the first album.

Dick Heath | 3/5 |


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