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Jonas Hellborg - Art Metal - Vyakhyan-Kar (with Johansson,Selvaganesh, Ia Eklundh, Johansson) CD (album) cover


Jonas Hellborg

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Dick Heath
Jazz-Rock Specialist
4 stars

This continues in the tradition of the experimental fusions that Hellborg started his solo career off in the late 80's with numerous DEM Records releases, where very little seems off-limits to Hellborg wrt musical cross-pollenation. In particular, the very heavy jazz fusion of 'e' (predating Niacin by several years), and Shining Path's 'No Other Worlds', and of course more recently the Indo jazz fusion of 'Icon', 'Paris', 'Kali's Son' etc., are the precursors to 'Art Meta'l, although clearly the music isn't stuck in the 90's. Anders Johansson continues to impress being one of the most intelligent metal drummers around, and again he demonstrating great sympathy with percussionists, particularly those using eastern rhythms, (i.e. as previously heard on his album 'Red Shift'). And I have to say a welcome back to Jens Johansson - great to hear him away from Stratovarious and being pushed.

I have to admit this record has needed a second hearing for me to appreciate its subleties. With my first session in found a recording that started with (brash but) intelligent jazz metal (indeed semi-math rock in parts). However, I was hard pressed to hear its Indian side at the start, and instead that became far mor evident as it moved through to its later tracks, when I found the Indian influences became increasingly strong and equally weighted. However, with the second hearing and I realised the Indian rhythms and the structuring of tunes are more obvious from the very start. This is a record that will need several more hearings for me to more fully appreciate it, but already its complexity of arrangement, the use of light and heavy, the mix of east and west, abrupt change in song, tell me 'Art Metal' maintains Hellborg (and Co.) usual high standard of expermental jazz fusion albums - and indeed the album title is fairly accurate! This is an album that is most strongly recommended to Hellborg fans and especially those into metal jazz which does something new and special.

As an important footnote, I think having seen the intruction DVD, 'The Gateway to Rhythm' by John McLaughlin and S. Ganesh Vinayakram, the information there has provided me with some considerable insights into what Hellborg and Selvaganash are doing in the company of proven metal rock masters of the Johansson brothers and Mattias IA Eklundh. ALso recommended as an introduction to Indian music.

Report this review (#137745)
Posted Tuesday, September 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars For me, this is like a dream-team band, a match made in heaven, a platonic group. What else could I want? The formula: Rock+ Jazz+ Hindu and oriental scales+ Sweden+ prog elements+and lots of virtuosity= fusion album of the year!!! too bad this doesn't get the recognition it deserves. At bass, we have mastermind Sir Jonas Hellborg, if you ain't heard him, what are you waiting for????? At guitar Mattias IA Eklundh, a young virtuoso with a very defined style The Johnasson bros. delivering like always. Jens being somewhat behind, sometimes just coming out for some solos Selvaganesh / kanjeera giving that extra Hindu style It is extremely recommended to any one into complex jazz fusion, or progmetal 4.5 stars
Report this review (#157667)
Posted Friday, January 4, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Hey! You got art in my metal! Hey! You got metal in my art!

Between the art and the metal lies jazz, and a nice Indian flavoring.

Really one of the top albums of 2007, hear me now and believe me later. It's been quite unappreciated so far, maybe time will tell, it came out late in the year. As I write this I'm thinking it may just take a little more time. The only musician I am familiar with on here is Jonas Hellborg. If you think you know all the great bassists in progdom and don't know Hellborg, then you have a missing piece my friend.

This band just makes some really intense and dense instrumental music. Sometimes it's nice to have instrumental music that is just simple but not too complex. Sometimes you have to have something intense, and here you are. These songs really take you to interesting places. A taste expanding experience for the metal fan as well as the non-metal progressive music fan. We can all just get along.

Report this review (#171210)
Posted Friday, May 16, 2008 | Review Permalink

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