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Mahavishnu Orchestra - Apocalypse CD (album) cover


Mahavishnu Orchestra


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.64 | 271 ratings

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4 stars Through this fourth album, John McLaughlin took grandiose approach to the music of Mahavishnu Orchestra with the use of full orchestra : The London Symphony Orchestra, with its leader: Hugh Beau and Conductor: Michael Tilson Thomas. Not only that, after they recorded three intense albums during 1971-1973, the personnel changed completely for the second version of the group. A reformation of the group in 1974 brought Jean-Luc PONTY on board to play violin, along with a host of new supporting musicians. Gayle Moran, whom I knew the first time with Return To Forever is taking keyboard and vocal jobs. Rick Laird whom previously played bass is now replaced by Ralphe Armstrong while Billy Cobham is replaced by Michael Walden. Jan Hammer is gone too.

With "Power of Love" sees the band in "overture" style using orchestra as rhythm section, the band moves forward with great track "Vision is A Naked Sword". This track combines powerful guitar work by McLaughlin augmented by bass guitar and violin. The full orchestra is also taking part during breaks as well as serving as rhythm section. Jean Luc Ponty provides his violin solo especially during orchestra work. "Smile Of The Beyond" brings - for the first time in Mahavishnu career - vocal into the music. Gayle Moran starts her voice wonderfully at the opening part, accompanied by orchestra. Half-way through, the track is performed in mellow with chanting nuance and Moran's voice, obviously. The other half of the track is fast tempo music in jazz-rock fusion style. I can see Ralphe Armstrong plays dynamic bass lines throughout this segment, accompanying guitar and violin solo. The track returns back to mellow style.

"Wings of Karma" starts ambient with violin and orchestra for approximately 2 minutes at the beginning. The music starts to roll with all instruments played together after minute 2:10. This represents another great thread of violin, guitar solos and orchestra. The orchestra is given more at the end of the track. "Hymn to Him" closes the album in an epic form. This the best track from the album. It combines dynamic collaboration among guitar solo, violin solo, bass guitar, orchestra, keyboard and powerful drumming. I think, for this track itself it's worth to have this album.

It's an excellent addition to any prog music collection. This is the first time I see there is no poem by Sri Chinmoy at the CD sleeve. As most of you might have known, John McLaughlin became a disciple of Sri Chinmoy and and adopted the name Maha (the creator) Vishnu (the preserver). Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Gatot | 4/5 |


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