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Return To Forever - Hymn Of The Seventh Galaxy CD (album) cover


Return To Forever


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.19 | 296 ratings

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Post/Math Rock Team
4 stars This is either the second or third RTF album, depending on your view. The first was a Chick Corea solo album called Return To Forever, but the second was a group release with pretty much the same line-up. Those two albums had more in common with early Weather Report, whereas this one has more in common with early Mahavishnu Orchestra. There are strong hard rock and funk influences here not heard on the previous two. Bill Connors is the guitarist here and I prefer his style to Al DiMeola who joins for the next album. No vocals this time and Stanley Clarke has yet to perfect his funky bass style. The music here is generally equally jazzy and rockin' with Corea making great use of ring modulator and other effects on his Fender Rhodes electric piano. The drumming of Lenny White is something to behold.

The title track starts off with spacey noises, then goes into funky jazz-rock. Great guitar playing and drumming in the middle. One of the better songs on Hymn but I wish it was longer. "After The Cosmic Rain" was written by Clarke and is probably the proggiest number on the album. It's my personal favourite song on here. I love Corea's modified Rhodes and organ in this song. The interplay between Connors and Corea is great here. Clarke does an an excellent, long fuzz-bass solo which is the highlight of the whole album for me. Love how the tempo picks up during his solo. A tempo increase happens again when Corea does his Rhodes solo.

"Captain Senor Mouse" has a Latin American influence. At times Connors and Corea's unison playing reminds me of the Allman Bros. A very energenic and upbeat song until it mellows out a bit after 3 minutes. Connors does a really great solo over halfway. "Theme To The Mothership" fades in with a phased drum roll and wastes no time getting down to business; business being slightly funky/slightly symphonic jazz-rock. In the middle Corea does some terrific ring modulator altered Rhodes soloing as Clarke comes up with some interesting sounds on his bass. Ends very laid-back and funky before some start/stop playing to finish it.

"Space Circus, Pt. 1 & Pt. 2" begins with some lovely Rhodes, harpsichord and organ playing for the first minute and a half. Then some funky Rhodes takes the band into jazz- funk territory. Later on the band grooves on a hard rock riff, followed by some excellent Rhodes playing. The two sections repeat again. Some almost metal style soloing from Connors near the end before it finishes with the excellent Rhodes part again. "Game Maker" has some acoustic guitar. Almost spacey and avant for awhile. Gets almost Canterbury sounding afterwards. Connors and Corea trade solos back and forth.

This is probably my favourite RTF album because of it's consistency. I also enjoy the early 70s/pre-synth sound here. I never thought Corea was that great with synths. This is definitely recommended to proggers who don't mind instrumental music. On the next album synths and DiMeola appear, but I personally believe RTF never got better than on Hymn Of The Seventh Galaxy. 4 stars.

zravkapt | 4/5 |


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