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Mahavishnu Orchestra - The Inner Mounting Flame  CD (album) cover

THE INNER MOUNTING FLAME

Mahavishnu Orchestra

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.27 | 636 ratings

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Rune2000
Special Collaborator
Prog Metal Team
4 stars I might as well come out and say that I consider myself somewhat of a Mahavishnu Orchestra fan which also means that they tend to hijack the top position among the three Jazz Rock/Fusion giants of the 70's any day of the week for me. Inner Mounting Flame was my second exploration of this now renowned quintet and at first it felt slightly disappointed which most definitely had more to do with the effect that Birds Of Fire had on me than any fault of this material.

Anyone claiming that John McLaughlin's writing and performing style is the key factor that determines whether you'll enjoy Mahavishnu Orchestra or not would be completely right. It might come as a complete surprise, to anyone who has read my previous reviews, that I happen to enjoy his style immensely which has been somewhat of a mystery even to me due to my dislike of other guitar virtuosos like Al Di Meola and Allan Holdsworth. I guess that the key difference to me is the way these artists go about in displaying their skill but I'll save you this in-depth analysis for my later reviews. As for now, let's get to what this debut album's material actually has to offer!

The album starts with a grand scale intro that must have been quite daring at the time but as soon as the first sounds of the guitar/violin/drums kick in we immediately see that the band have the chops to back it up and the rest of Meeting Of The Spirits keeps up this tendency in quite a grand fashion. Dawn picks up where its predecessor left off even if the first minutes of the buildup might give a different intuition as of how this composition will evolve. Noonward Race is the first real groovy jam moment with all the members showing off their chops. This type of loose styled improvisation is probably the key to why I can't actually truly enjoy any of the Jazz Rock/Fusion recordings. Still it's far from the worst cases of jamming that I've experienced and, if in right mood, I can even appreciate the effort.

A Lotus On Irish Streams returns the band to what makes them great with this beautiful low-key instrumental showing great attention to detail and mood of the overall sound. These moments of bliss are then rudely abrupted by another jam composition. Unlike Noonward Race before it, Vital Transformation starts off in an excellent fashion but soon becomes just a dull soloing number for John McLaughlin. Luckily The Dance Of Maya adds an almost Crimsonesque touch to Mahavishnu Orchestra that later King Crimson compositions will become known for (only with the much heavier sounding guitars). You Know You Know is another nice low key moment that doesn't really result in anything too noteworthy but instead paves the way for the weirdly out-of-place Awakening which to me sounds almost like a Samla Mammas Manna track from that same era. As always, it's nice seeing Mahavishnu Orchestra branching out and revealing more of their true potential with this performance.

Even if my original response to this album was lukewarm at best it was only a matter of time before the material would settle in and reveal the subtile undertones that I failed to gasp upon my first visits. Inner Mounting Flame is well worth experiencing if you want to get a better understanding for the band that created Birds Of Fire or the Jazz Rock/Fusion in general.

***** star songs: Meeting Of The Spirits (6:52) Dawn (5:10)

**** star songs: Noonward Race (6:28) A Lotus On Irish Streams (5:39) The Dance Of Maya (7:16) You Know You Know (5:07) Awakening (3:32)

*** star songs: Vital Transformation (6:16)

Rune2000 | 4/5 |

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