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Focus - 3 CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.79 | 508 ratings

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3 stars Right before the tour supporting the ''Moving waves'' album, bassist Cyril Havermans left Focus to pursue a solo career and was replaced by Bert Ruiter, whom Jan Akkerman knew from the recording of his 72' album ''Profile''.Focus had already blew the music world, as the Melody Maker characterized them as the "Brightest hope for the year", Akkermann as the "Best guitarist in the world" and even Pierre Van Der Linden as the "Greatest drummer in Europe".''Focus III'', the third studio album of the band was originally intended to be released as a single LP, but the band had already recorded so much material, that decided to release it as a double-LP in the process.This was originally released in November 1972 on Imperial in Holland and a number of other labels for the rest of the world.

Things get serious already from the start and the short instrumentals of side A establish Focus as a premiere Symphonic/Jazz-Rock act.Excellent combination of intense Jazz Rock with Classical-indluenced keyboard passages in four great tracks full of lovely melodies but also technical abilities with some superb guitar workouts by Akkermann, a fascinating rhythm section and Van Leer's dreamy flutes and deep organ waves.The second side opens with the self-titled track, where Focus try to revive the beautiful atmosphere of ''Focus II'' from ''Moving waves''.Light, instrumental Symphonic Rock with a growing tempo based on careful and melodic guitar solos and atmospheric Hammong organ.With the 14-min. long ''Answers? Questions! Questions? Answers!'' Focus enter their more jazzy and improvised side.Powerful Jazz-Rock with shifting moods, funky tempos, a fair amount of virtuosity and solos, ending up offering quite solid performances by a group of talented guys.This was also the first attempt of Bert Ruiter on contributing to a Focus' composition.

The second LP is almost exclusively driven by the long 27-min. improvisation ''Anonymus II'', which start the first side and ends covering 7 minutes of the second one.For a studio jamming this is actually a nice track.Endless dynamic grooves blended with numerous technical solos with jazzy guitars and sharp Hammond organ all the way, interrupted only by a JETHRO TULL-esque flute interlude and a drum solo by Van Den Linden towards the end.It actually sound pretty tight as a whole to become monotonous on the way and the impressive execution catches the listener's attention until the end, maybe this is a bit overstreched.The pair of closing tunes saw Focus in a mix of Classical Music and Medieval Folk with ethereal flutes and delicate acoustic guitars with ''House of the King'' having again some sort of JETHRO TULL-esque vibe.

This is a great album indeed.The long jamming tracks prevent it from being absolutely seesntial and a single LP with the best moments would make this stand next to some Prog classics.Still this is a very solid release of instrumental Symphonic/Jazz- Rock with a few really fantastic pieces.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

apps79 | 3/5 |


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