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OHM

Ohm

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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5 stars I was introduced to this power trio in the summer of 1999. I had the good fortune of working with a personal friend of Chris Poland, whom I had idolized as a kid, growing up on Megadeth and assorted thrash metal. This friend invited me to a show one night, and changed my musical perspective forever.

Having heard the term "Jazz Fusion", but never understanding what the genre entailed, I was in for a real paradigm shift in my melodic conscious. What ensued that night was a set that consisted of tightly arranged compositions, set ablaze with fire and soul. As I struggled to take in the technical genius that weaved in and out of dramatic tone changes and erratic tempos, I realized... this is music. Everything I had come to know before that night flew out the window.

I set out on a journey of discovery, finding a vein of musical greats that I had missed along the way. Brand X, Return to Forever and Mahavishnu Orchestra all crossed my path and found their way into my collection, but I could never find that "sound" that had so impressed me the night I heard OHM. Consistently checking the Chris Poland website, I finally caught wind of a studio release in 2003. Needless to say, I pre- ordered the album and received a copy of what surely had to have been the first run. I was not disappointed.

The sheer virtuoso element of Poland and Pag would be enough to make this album a true masterpiece. But it's their arrangement and attention to structure and transition that make it so unique and intensely creative. Poland is a technical guru (I knew that purely from early Megadeth) but his feel and "gut" rivals that of Stevie Ray Vaughn, or Eric Clapton. I actually found myself on the verge of tears listening to "Between Us" one night. While on the lower end of things, Robertino Pagliari complements Chris on every angle. Pag has discovered the mystery of playing air tight, lightning fast bass chops, without getting lost in the mix... a real rarity. David Eagle is not to be ignored. He gels the trio together with his relentless yet laid back style.

This one is something special, folks. Even in the vast array of fusion and prog rock, OHM stands out as a cut above and years beyond.

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Send comments to Jeremy Spade (BETA) | Report this review (#34788)
Posted Friday, April 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
Dick Heath
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Jazz-Rock Specialist
3 stars Must not go too far over the the top with one of the better (but not the best) jazz rock fusion albums of the last few years. The 'good but non-ssential' is relevant to the straight prog fan, while more specifically "excellent addition to any jazz rock collection or guitar shredding fan", is relevant to jazz rock fans and guitar musos.

Poland appears to have strived to move his music away from the heavy rock of Megadeth in the last decade, although he still appears live with them. Checking out his previous solo albums, you'll discover Ohm is quite a shift forward into one form of jazz rock (slipping at times into prog fusion). And that is an oddly old type of European jazz rock, where some of the musicians play jazz (here an excellent rhythm section of drums and bass - note: Ginger's son Kofie Baker has subsequently taken over the role of drummer), while Poland fronts playing rock guitar - Tasavallan Presidentti in the early 70's being an example of this type of jazz fusion.

A good set of composition tightly arranged makes for a very pleasurable hour or so with Ohm

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Send comments to Dick Heath (BETA) | Report this review (#34789)
Posted Tuesday, April 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars So you think you know who your favorite guitarist is?

With all of the lovers of technical shred we have on this site I am amazed this album has but a few reviews. While in the jazz-fusion category this CD has all of the monster shred and techno gymnastics that should make it thrill fans of Jazz-Fusion, Prog-Metal, King Crimson, Karcius, and hard rock alike. I'm not all that familiar with Megadeth but Chris Poland can play a little guitar. Pagliari and Eagle round out a power-trio that spells nirvana for lovers of complex instrumental rock music.

It took me a while to warm to this band which I find to be common when music is mathematical in nature. But warm one does after a few spins. I love that the booklet states emphatically that the "drum tracks are recorded live, one pass, no overdubs, no electronics or midi devices." I wonder how many other top tier drummers out there can make the same statement about their last album. And yes, the drums are fantastic..all of the playing is killer. I also have to mention the album cover which is one of the coolest photographs I've seen in ages.

My favorite tracks are Love Song, Between Us, and Bastille Day (not a Rush cover.) Unlike some fusion players who can come off a bit emotionally cold, Poland's playing is nearly always expressive and open, quite often warm and optimistic. The lovely "Sister Cheryl" is an example of this with the backing acoustic guitar and leads that say far more than any vocals could.

There are a few moments that border on excessive wankery but luckily they are the exception and not the rule. What I like about this album is that Ohm are musicians who play well enough to be snobs but their music is not snobbish. It has a sense of humor and of playfulness.

Recommended to all who like to be wow-ed by masterful playing. Those folks will not be disappointed by Ohm.

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Send comments to Finnforest (BETA) | Report this review (#126193)
Posted Sunday, June 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Neo Prog Team
3 stars Guitarist Chris Poland has been around since 1977 as a member of the fusion band ''The New Yorkers'',later he joined the metal band ''Megadeth'' and formed the prog heavy rock band ''Damn the machine''.After the millenium Chris formed OHM along with his old friend Robby Pagliari.Their eponymous debut from 2003 is an all instrumental album featuring Poland's leading guitar performance,the complex bass lines of Pagliari and the jazzy drumming of David Eagle.Their sound is a mix of melodic fusion in the style of LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT and complex,chaotic heavy prog in the vein of KING CRIMSON or TRYO.No need for any keyboards here,as the composition are very rich and diverse.Among the most interesting and well-arranged releases in the jazz/fusion/prog territory.

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Send comments to apps79 (BETA) | Report this review (#201981)
Posted Saturday, February 07, 2009 | Review Permalink
Negoba
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Reborn Guitar Monster Creates Modern Jazz-Fusion Masterpiece

Chris Poland has been an amazing guitarist for over 25 years, and despite his talent being evident even above the 80's thrash speed demons, he has continued to improve to the point that now he may be among the best guitarists alive. Dave Mustaine, who brought Poland to recognition by tapping him for the first firm incarnation of Megadeth, is usually fairly backhanded in his praise. And yet, despite deep personal betrayals, Mustaine continues to ask Poland for leads, and has said "he just plays circles around me." Poland played on the metal classic "Peace Sells." and actually played the initial leads for Megadeth's other colossal peak "Rust in Peace" before Marty Friedman was brought in to re-record.

So the guy can play. But what immediately grabs your attention is his tone and his expression. He phrases more like a sax or keyboard player, and in fact sites Jan Hammer of Mahavishnu Orchestra as one of his main influences. He slides in and out of notes, hits multiple ghost bends on the same fret, techniques initially designed to mimic a keyboard's pitch wheel. Now it is all incorporated into the largest expressive palette I've heard. Period. And I have been a guitar nerd for over 20 years. His touch is beyond Jeff Beck, his speed and fluidity nearing Shawn Lane.

Though very good in Megadeth and the following project Damn the Machine, Poland's playing is so much better now. At least part of this is shedding his appetite for drugs that actually rivaled Mustaine's, but just as important is, in his words, the choice "to just play what we want to play and let the chips fall." Ohm: is the jazz fusion project that Poland always wanted, the sound that he spent his hours in the bedroom and practice room preparing for. What's more, I would argue that the first Ohm: album is Poland at his best. There's an edginess to the playing that is not quite as prevalent in the follow-up. He pulls an incredible amount of tones from his touch (and an enormous rack) but instead of sounding like play day at the guitar store, it just sounds fluid and natural.

As others have said Ohm: is not just a guitar showcase. The compositions are intricate, interesting, and very melodic. It's not free form jazz either, though there is a bit of improvisation where all three players call and respond, intertwining lines, and feeding off each other's energy. Bassist Robert Pagliari, who Poland played with for several years prior to joining Megadeth, moves from simple and tasty to madman. Drummer David Eagle was a session / teaching drum veteran who literally played everything but the kitchen sink with a rack that looked like two octopi failed in their attempt to run the Kama Sutra.

The music is deceptively listener-friendly, sounding a little like Eric Johnson with the backing band allowed to play just as aggressively as the lead guitar. But like any good music, deeper nuances can be heard with repeated listens. It's a disc that for me is just hard to take off the player. As jazz fusion goes, if this isn't a modern masterpiece, I'm not sure what is.

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Send comments to Negoba (BETA) | Report this review (#212028)
Posted Tuesday, April 21, 2009 | Review Permalink
snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars It's quite characteristic for last decade some well-established heavy metal musicians founded heavy fusion side projects (LTE is one of most popular between them). Ohm is another one realisation of such formula, founded by Megadeath guitarist Chris Poland.

As often in such cases, the band is power trio (without keyboards, and it's really for good). Music played is melodic heavy fusion, brewed from Chris' heavy rock guitar and very competent jazzy rhythm section. Whenever the guitar is absolutely main instrument there, possibly the correct name of album's music should be "heavy instrumental rock with jazz elements". Happily, rhythm section is quite important on many compositions, and it saves album from being just usual instrumental rock recordings.

Chris Poland is good rock guitarist ,but really not the jazz fusion one, and even if you can hear some McLaughlin influences here and there, guitar's sound is mostly pure rock. But - music is accessible, melodic, technical enough for heavy rock, and have jazzy flavour.

Good album for heavy rock fans, entering the jazz fusion doors. Nothing too much to listen for jazz-rock or fusion lovers though...

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Send comments to snobb (BETA) | Report this review (#292729)
Posted Friday, July 30, 2010 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars OHM is the brainchild of guitarist Chris Poland who Metal fans might know from his work on "Peace Sells...But Who's Buying" from MEGADETH. This is a completely different style of music as you might imagine. It's interesting how many artists are famous for a certain genre of music they play, yet they actually would prefer playing a different style that they're more into. When I think of OHM (I have the first two studio albums) I think class.Tasteful and professional all the way. If your into instrumental Jazz / Rock / Fusion this is a must. Cool album cover as well. I should mention that when it comes to the drums they state in the liner notes that "Drum tracks recorded live, one pass, no overdubs, no electronic, no midi devices".

"Peanut Buddha" opens with drums as the guitar creates some atmosphere before kicking in. Love the drumming ! Chris is lighting it up after 3 minutes. Gorgeous track. "Where's My Hat" sounds so cool with the intricate bass, guitar and drums. "ID" is again "intricate" then it kicks into gear as contrasts continue. "Love Song" is a smooth sounding track led by the guitar. Check out the guitar after 3 minutes. "Came To Believe" opens with atmosphere then it kicks in quickly. "Between Us" has a relaxing sound until Chris winds it out before 2 minutes. "Iguana" has some nice sounding bass and drum work early. It settles beautifully before 2 minutes as Poland shines. It picks back up late. "Sister Cheryl" is laid back and guitar led.

"Brandenberg Gate" opens with rain and thunder then cymbals join in before the guitar takes over. I like this a lot. Some guitar outbursts before 3 minutes. Spoken words 4 1/2 minutes in then it ends with rain and thunder. "Bastille Day" sounds great 2 minutes in with that guitar / drum section before it settles back. "Mountain" is pastoral to start then it picks up.This might be my favourite song on here as we get some nasty guitar 2 1/2 minutes in. "Search For The Suicide King" opens with atmosphere as the guitar cries out. It picks up quickly. Excellent sound here. It does get fairly heavy at times. "Ohmage" opens with a hum before drums then guitar and bass take over.The bass is impressive. Check out the drums before 3 minutes.The guitar shines late.

A very solid 4 stars and an album that fans of instrumental music should check out.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#433654)
Posted Thursday, April 14, 2011 | Review Permalink

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