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Colosseum II - Strange New Flesh CD (album) cover


Colosseum II


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.63 | 147 ratings

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3 stars The debut album by Colosseum II is crispy but remains a mixed bag of tastes and quality. The main downweight towards mediocrity is the hard-rock/rock vocal and some lightweight melodies that do not fare well with the band's instrumental abilities and potential. Also, this record is closer to progressive rock than fusion.

The album starts very strong with a 5-star "Dark side of the Moog", which is a magnificient celebration of progressive rock. A very memorable and majestic Moog "riffing", Hammond runs, propulsive drumming and fantastic aggressive guitar playing make it an irresistible composition - must heard for each prog-rock fan. Even the mellow section keeps high standard and then increasing speed to remind of Return to Forever. Notice no vocals here - the best track on the album and possibly by the band.

"Down to you" introduces the interesting and emotional vocal singing a soulful radio-friendly melody. Finally, in the middle of the section, we have a fusion influenced instrumental section led by Moog, later a rocking guitar.

"Gemini and Leo" has a groovy funky beat, finally the bass guitar also shines but all in all, it's quite and awkward composition with too affected vocal. "Secret places" has a great rock melody and vocals, they should have left this song without instrumental complexity, it's a good rock number.

You see another composition with over 7 minutes "On second thoughts" but then it starts quietly with a vocal and relaxed laid-back keyboards - not a good sign. The compensation comes much later with guitar and keyboard textures.

"Winds" starts with a drummer's busy solo and fluently evolving to a Canterbury-like drumming, tasty guitar licks. Despite vocal marring it, it's the rhythm section that wins here by a margin, fantastic drums and bass that change dynamically. Another moog solo after a long while.

All in all, I'm very content with keyboards on that album, I find drumming and guitar OK (Moore will improve his fusion playing on next albums). The singer is not bad but joined the wrong band for his vocal.

So take this album with caution, it's much less fusion that expected.

sgtpepper | 3/5 |


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