Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography



Jazz Rock/Fusion

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Niacin Niacin album cover
3.25 | 31 ratings | 6 reviews | 13% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

Write a review

Buy NIACIN Music
from partners
Studio Album, released in 1996

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. No Man's Land (4:58)
2. Clean-Up Crew (1:07)
3. Do a Little Dirty Work (5:49)
4. I Miss You (Like I Miss the Sun) (4:54)
5. One Less Worry (4:12)
6. Three Feet Back (5:31)
7. Bullet Train Blues (4:53)
8. Hell to Pay (4:35)
9. Alone on My Own Little Island (4:53)
10. For Crying Out Loud (3:30)
11. Klaghorn (6:29)
12. Spring Rounds (2:36)
13. Spring Rounds Squared (3:00)

Bonus track on 1996 Japan release:
14. Last Ditch Rag (5:28)

Bonus tracks on 1997 US release:
14. Clean-Up Crew (1:07)
15. Fudgesicle (1:40)

Total Time: 62:21

Line-up / Musicians

- John Novello / Hammond B3, arrangements
- Billy Sheehan / bass, producer
- Dennis Chambers / drums

Releases information

Artwork: Brian J Ames with Jim Hagopian (photo)

CD Videoarts Music ‎- VACM-1025 (1996, Japan) With a bonus track
CD Stretch Records ‎- SCD-9011-2 (1997, US) With 2 bonus tracks

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy NIACIN Niacin Music

More places to buy NIACIN music online

NIACIN Niacin ratings distribution

(31 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(13%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(39%)
Good, but non-essential (42%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

NIACIN Niacin reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by lor68
4 stars Excellent mix between such a jazzy/progressive stuff by ELP (Listen to "Brain Salad Surgery", almost entirely composed by EMERSON) and that one belonging to the best classic fusion bands, including BRAND X in their accessible moments... by adding the typical Hammond organ, with pleasant solos, and the remarkable drumming by Dennis Chambers as well. Recommended!!
Review by Australian
3 stars Niacin are primarily a mixture of two bands ELP and Yes, they are much in the same situation and ELP as they have a brilliant Bassist, Drummer and most of all keyboardist but no guitarist to speak of and in this case NO vocalist. That's right; this album is entirely instrumental and is so entirely dominated by keyboards and synthesizers typical of ELP and other 70's bands. That said the bass work from Billy Sheehan is powerful and has a thrumming intensity, the bass is usually boosted and carries a Chris Squire (yes) feel to it. It reminds me some of 'Fish Out of Water' by Chris Squire, minus the orchestra of course as the bass occasionally takes the lead and is stabbing and powerful like Squire's Bass. Indeed Naicin could easily be mistaken for a 70's prog band.

As well as carrying strong 70's ELP influences, Jazz/Rock fusion is also incorporated into the music. The entire album carries strong traces of fusion and it is evident in basically every song on the album. Think of a mixture of Mahavishnu Orchestra and ELP and the illusion is complete.Keyboardist John Novello is extremely skilled and throughout his song-length solos there is some very skillful playing which reminds one immediately of Keith Emmerson. The keyboard solo on "One Less Worry" is fantastic, mainly because the backing is fantastic and it basically allows John Novello to do what ever he wants.

In terms of percussion, well it's more than up to scratch with the Bass and Keys. The percussion along with the bass really drives the music and they always maintain a strong presence in the context of a song. Right about now I'd usually go into a song by song analysis but the entire album is essentially the same so there is no point. The music itself usually ranges from being mellow (rare though) to being upbeat and fast- paced which it is through almost every song. Yes, the album is a very happy one. The highlights of the album are "No Man's Land", "Klaghorn" and "Bullet Train Blues", although there isn't anything bad on the album.

1. No Man's Land (4/5) 2. Clean-Up Crew (3/5) 3. Do a Little Dirty Work (3/5) 4. I Miss You (Like I Miss the Sun) (3/5) 5. One Less Worry (3.5/5) 6. Three Feet Back (4/5) 7. Bullet Train Blues (4/5) 8. Hell to Pay (3/5) 9. Alone on My Own Little Island (4/5) 10. For Crying Out Loud (3/5) 11. Klaghorn (4/5) 12. Spring Rounds (3/5) 13. Spring Rounds Squared (3/5) 14. Pay Dirt (3.5/5) 15. Fudgesicle (3/5) Total = 51 divided by 15 (number of songs) = 3.4 Good, but non-essential

This album is very good, but you just have to take the repetition factor into account, it's basically over an hour of similar sounding music and let me tell you it can get very monotonous. This problem is fixed in "High Bias", but here it is still a little bit of a problem. I'd recommend this album to all lovers of ELP and jazz fusion. 3 stars although the album probably deserves four, keep that in mind please.


Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars NIACIN were found around mid-90's by famous bassist Billy Sheehan (he has been a follower of rock artists like David Lee Roth and Steve Vai),keyboard virtuoso John Novello and well-known drummer Dennis Chambers (he has played with John McLaughlin,Steely Dan and Santana among others).The main aim of the trio was to mix perfectly the progressive rock's complexity with the jazz/fusion virtuosoty and that's what can be heard in their eponymous debut from 1996.

''Niacin'' features no guitars at all and the album is structured upon the deep musicianship of the drums/bass/keyboards rhythms and interplays.Not surprisingly ''Niacin'' is filled with Novello's keyboard sounds,especially the Hammond organ is all over the place,from nicely arranged grooves to endless soloing,but you can taste also some beatiful piano parts in here,where the music flirts intensively with straight jazz,soul and blues.Sheehan's bass lines are quite heavy,rich and complicated from the very first moments of this album and Chambers proofs why he has been a famous name in the jazz/rock market around the years with his careful and strong drumming.Sometimes the music is very close to a somewhat fusion side of E.L.P. or even better there are lot of moments where I recall SPOCK'S BEARD's instrumental parts listening to this one.''Niacin'' is a very pleasant album with strong individual performances,nice breaks and changing moods,recommended to every fan of demanding instrumental rock.

Review by Easy Money
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Niacin shows a lot of potential on their first release, but they also expose some areas that could use improving. They play heavy 90s jazz rock fusion with the emphasis on rock. Different songs showcase a variety of influences including 70s ELP, funk, blues, 70s hard rock and straight ahead jazz. Everyone on this CD is an excellent musician and the songs are tight and energetic, but there are some problems that need to be dealt with.

One of the main problems with Niacin is their monotonous sound. Every single song is bass, drums and B3 with some occasional piano in the background. They rarely use any effects or studio tricks of any kind. Basically this CD sounds like a live gig without the energy and ambience of a live gig. On the very last song they run the B3 and bass through echo and reverb and end up with a song that is a breath of fresh air after all the sameness.

The other main problem is John Novello's inability to sustain a long solo. His solos are short and usually consist of quick memorized runs or repeated 4 or 5 note riffs. In the liner notes Novello lists some of his favorite players including Jimmy Smith, Brian Auger and Jon Lord. Ironically, these three are considered some of the best organists at playing a long solo. Each one is a master at piling phrases on top of each other as the solo builds in energy. It is possible that Novello is not interested in long solos, but I think that is what a lot of people are looking for in this style of music.

This is a really good band and they play hard. If you don't mind the short solos and predictable sound texture this might be worth checking out.

Review by Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Chambers, Novello and Sheehan's first is quite unlike the Niacin albums that came later, and has as much in common with the vintage rhythm 'n blues, soul-jazz and gospel rock of Jimmy Smith as the prog/fusion this trio is routinely lumped in with. A more immediate, emotional and warmer quality is achieved here, the three players sounding like they'd be right at home in church on Sunday morning as much as in a dimly-lit jazz club late the night before. It's groovy, man, and the whole thing feels like you've accidentally wandered into the greatest casual jam session you'll ever witness. 'No Man's Land' is a cooker and a healthy five minutes of great organ rock, 'Do a Little Dirty Work' funks, quiet instrumental ballad 'I Miss You (Like I Miss the Sun)', and soulful reflections in piano showcase 'One Less Worry'. Flat-out gospel stomper 'Three Feet Back' steals the show, John Novello making his mark as an important voice in rock organ, supported by the next, the hard-bopping 'Bullet Train Blues', catchy beats of 'Klaghorn', fascinating Stravinsky fugue jazz in 'Spring Rounds' and hearty 'Paydirt'.

Possibly a bit more rooted in the infectious swing of black American music than many progsters expect and though I would recommend their 2005 release 'Organik' over this, 'Niacin' is a fine debut from one of the best progressive jazz-rock ensembles of our time.

Review by Moatilliatta
3 stars Niacin's debut is a bit shaky, but it isn't bad. The trademark Niacin sound is already apparent with Novello's groovy B3, Sheehan's running basslines and Chambers' skillful drumming. Unfortunately, the tunes are a bit more relaxed on this record, and the songs get boring as time passes, especially due to the monotony of the sound. Niacin's more recent works, Time Crunch and Organik, are much more energetic and interesting, though I would say that the album following this one, High Bias is a pretty solid release too. The performances are all good, but in the big picture, the album is rather dull and the compositions aren't as refined or diverse as their future ones are. To a listener new to Niacin, this will still sound like a very hard-rockin' jazz fusion group, but they should know that it gets better! The highlights would be the opener "No Man's Land," which includes an nod to Return to Forever's "Space Circus" and the aggressive "Bullet Train Blues."

Latest members reviews

No review or rating for the moment | Submit a review

Post a review of NIACIN "Niacin"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.