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Colosseum II - Strange New Flesh CD (album) cover


Colosseum II


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.63 | 147 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars I have been a big fan of Gary Moore since my teenage years, where he was in his 80-90's rock and blues period. As I realized that he was more than just a blues guitarist (I could feel richer musical influence in his works, at least flamenco and jazz), I started to dig deeper in particular his works with jazz rock oriented band, and Colosseum II is one among them.

'Strange New Flesh' is the debut album of Colosseum II, formed by late Jon Hiseman (he was bandleader of the former Colosseum band) with Gary Moore among the line up. This album has tracks with strong composition and a showcase of the virtuosity of the band members. This band ? and in this album in particular - is kind of more rock oriented version (in a good sense in this case) of Mahavishnu Orchestra or Return to Forever. Jon Hiseman dexterity in drums is off course one of the highlight (check for example the last track 'Winds'). His duet with Neil Murray on rhythm section is really awesome, whether it is on jazzy, groovy or rock mood. Don Airey ? Gary Moore keyboard and guitar conversations give a lot of great moments.

The first two tracks are for me the best part in the album. 'Dark Side of the Moog' (perhaps a wordplay tribute to Pink Floyd?) is a fast paced instrumental composition with awesome smashing keyboard and guitar intro (the keyboard is the main instrument as the title suggest). The rhythm section is also very nice, with several time signatures and mood changes. 'Down to You' is an adaptation from Joni Mitchell song that is wonderfully re-arranged in jazz rock style. Gary Moore's guitar work is so soulful (those who love his bluesy ballad works like 'Still Got The Blues' should love this track too), particularly the intro and acoustic guitar in the middle of the song. Mike Starrs voice is nicely fitted to the song.

Other tracks are also all great. 'Gemini and Leo' and 'Secret Places' are groovy tracks with fast pace rhythm section, and great bassline and drum fills. 'On Second Thoughts' is a slow track, with nice solo guitar intro and interlude. 'Winds' is the longest track (10:23). Gary Moore use extensively wah effect in his solo. Jon Hiseman machine-gun-like drumming is awesome.

In short, this is an excellent jazz-rock album, with many progressive elements in each tracks. Each track effectively explores the great musicianship of the band members without being lost in too long improvisation.

Mark-P | 4/5 |


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