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Mahavishnu Orchestra - Visions Of The Emerald Beyond  CD (album) cover

VISIONS OF THE EMERALD BEYOND

Mahavishnu Orchestra

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.86 | 184 ratings

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The Quiet One
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Another album with Birds of Fire on the cover....

Visions of the Emerald Beyond is the second album by the brand new line-up of Mahavishnu Orchestra. This new line-up, noticing from their previous effort, is less frantic, does not feature ultra-complicated passages, it's way more melodic and has a lot of subtleties, also exploring a bit more the funky side of things like most other jazz rock bands were doing at that time, and as a result a way more accessible kind of jazz rock.

However the previous album featured the London Symphony Orchestra, which this(the Symphony Orchestra) had a very important role in the music in which the new line-up might not have come-up as they wished they had, but don't get me wrong Apocalypse was(and is) one hell of a album. So Visions of the Emerald Beyond could be considered like the real debut album by this new line-up from the composition side of things, this featuring grandiose violinist Jean-Luc Ponty, the forgotten Michael Walden on the drums, the skilled Ralphe Armstrong on bass, and the subtle but efficient Gayle Moran on keyboards and vocals.

Opening with the double part Eternity's Breath you know you're in for a new treat, well organized symphonic-esque composition featuring a very powerful guitar/violin riff which engages you completely and commands you to crank up your stereo. Ponty and John are continuously dueling with absolutely mind-blowing solos, while Michael Walden delivers some very intense drumming which will confuse you and think you have Billy Cobham once again on board. One of the best openers I've heard in a long time, but far from being the exhausting and mood-builder as the openers featured in Birds of Fire and Inner Mountain Flame.

That's as far as how the opener goes anyways since Visions of the Emerald Beyond was made to listen to it all in one shot, no skipping tracks, since many of the tunes in here are connected with others, so I really can't point out a standout track since it's mainly the connection of two or even three tracks that really standout, like If I Could See with Be Happy or the already mentioned opener which is compromised by two tracks.

Overall one accessible Jazz Fusion album without the rawness of early Jazz Fusion records which many people might prefer, but this does not takes the greatness this album offers. Recommended to Jean-Luc Ponty fans and for anyone who is looking for more from the accessible side of Jazz Fusion/Rock but still maintaining it's originality. However for a more unique experience by this line-up, Apocalypse should be it.

The Quiet One | 4/5 |

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