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Jonas Hellborg - No Other World (Jonas Hellborg/Johansson brothers, collectively known as The Shining Path) CD (album) cover


Jonas Hellborg

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Dick Heath
Jazz-Rock Specialist
3 stars Thrash metal perfection - from jazz musicians?

Shining Path is a one-off band put together by Jonas Hellborg and the Johansson brothers. Musically the band is as far as you can get from the broad ranging, jazz- influenced music of their other joint-recordings, although reflecting the metal preferences of the Johanssons (both earlier and later recordings). Put into context: through Hellborg's numerous and various releases for the DEM & Bardo labels, you can hear a man experimenting with various musical forms and with equally adventurous colleagues, having done this since the mid 80's. And one can only presume that what is found on Hellborg's records are the experiments that worked best.

As said above, Hellborg worked on a number of musical projects with Jens and Anders Johansson, having apparently rescued them from the "mediocrity" of Yngwie Malmsteen's band. The Johannsons are the sons of the great Swedish pianist Jan, but up to then better known as members of heavy rock bands, e.g. Yngwie Malmsteen's - although Jens had previously demonstrated some jazz creditials with Hellborg, on Ginger Baker's 'Unseen Rain'. 'No Other World', 'e', Anders' 'Blue Shift' and Jens' (with Anders) 'Fjäderlösa Tvåfotingar' ("Flightless two legged naked bird" is my approximate and inaccurate translation from Swedish) resulted from this collaboration. 'No Other World' is so unlike the other records listed. It is the amongst the heaviest of (thrash) metal albums I've ever come across. Recorded in New York, Jens provides overdriven Hammond, Jonas and Anders the pounding heavy rhythm, with American vocalist Gregory Peck (yeap, but not who you think) giving vent vocally with simple (and occasionally obscene) lyrics. However, what I find remarkable is that this is no ordinary thrash metal album, it is all played with musical precision. But the perfection doesn't get in the way; there is excitement in the compositions and because most tunes are played at breakneck speed - and if they weren't travelling so fast, you might have time to whistle along to them.

On first sight this might be thought an atypical one-off album. However, with second awareness of other recordings by the three musicians, there is some relationship to the Jonas Hellborg Group's 'e', i.e. Hellborg and the Johansson's as an instrumental trio, playing hard edged music, but jazz rock fusion in the territory now occupied by Niacin.

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Posted Tuesday, January 17, 2006 | Review Permalink

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