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Jazz Rock/Fusion • United States

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Ohm biography
Before he was a founding member of the "progressively ambitious" metal band, MEGADETH, Chris Poland with Robertino Pagliari, Gar Samuelson (also of MEGADETH) and Stu Samuelson made up a popular, L.A. area fusion outfit named The New Yorkers. Today, Chris and Robby along with drummer Kofi Baker, go by OHM, and have gone on to create some of today's most electrifying jazz-fusion. A power trio of epic talent, beginning with Chris Poland, who is among the most unrecognized, yet tremendously gifted fusion players ever to hit the scene. His style is both technically complex, yet free and passionate. Utilizing a vast array of rack-mount effects, that never cloud, but instead supply a tonal plate to a true artist, he is able to make precise sonic U-turns that make you wonder how it can only be one person playing. Supporting this intense string-master, is Robertino Pagliari on bass guitar. Robby's rounded tone and head-spinning six-string runs, are every bit on par with Chris, and balance out the compositional mastery OHM is known for. Keeping the beat has been the job of two gifted drummers, formerly David Eagle, and now Kofi Baker (Son of Ginger Baker of CREAM). While one could classify OHM as a jazz-fusion band in the tradition of MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA, WEATHER REPORT, and BRAND X, these comparisons do little to describe the unique work of this Los Angeles trio.

Having only two releases to date (with a third on its way), OHM's discography is so far a perfect score. 2003 saw the self titled release "Ohm", a musically creative and stimulating album, which sounds less like a first effort, and more like the masterpiece of lifelong musicians. 13 tracks pack a heavy punch of short, well composed pieces, ranging from heart-pounding heaviness to stomach sinking emotion. The very next year, fans were treated to a taste of just what it is these guys do together in the same room. "Live on KPFK" was recorded at a radio station who aired OHM live. Bringing some titles from their earlier release, along with never before recorded material, this album showcases the trio's phenomenal union.

If SPOCK'S BEARD and The FLOWER KINGS have claimed the modern progressive throne from the likes of YES and GENESIS, then OHM deserves top honors in the legacy of jazz-fusion. This group is simply essential. I cannot recommend them highly enough.

: : : Jeremy Spade, UNITED STATES : : :

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Lion Music Finland 2003
$15.30 (used)
Storming the Base 2013
$3.55 (used)
Amino Acid FlashbackAmino Acid Flashback
Blacknote Records 2005
$7.99 (used)
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OHM discography

Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help to complete the discography and add albums

OHM top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.81 | 22 ratings
3.97 | 24 ratings
Amino Acid Flashback
3.65 | 16 ratings
Circus of Sound

OHM Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.81 | 7 ratings
'Live' On KPFK 90.7 FM

OHM Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

OHM Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

OHM Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

OHM Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 Amino Acid Flashback by OHM album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.97 | 24 ratings

Amino Acid Flashback
Ohm Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by BORA

5 stars I honestly can't recall how I came across this CD, must have been a recommendation. Had I known about Chris Poland as a member of Megadeath, I would have given it an absolute miss as the name of the band alone would make me put barbed wire all around my place. I don't at all know their music and with such name chosen, it's unlikely that I would have ever been even remotely curious.

Well, it only shows that judgement is "not preferable", or as Frank Zappa could have said: "May your judgement come to life and kiss you." (He used a different term in place of judgement, but on these pages I'd rather not repeat that.)

So, to the point. This release would make me eat "humble pie" as it has become an instant favorite receiving endless repeats on day one. Nothing to do with Metal, but quality Jazz Rock/Fusion which is probably my most preferred genre in Prog.

This album was likened to Brand X, something I am not in agreement with. That is not to say that it's not equally great, but without Morris Pert (RIP) on percussion even Brand X have never been the same. Indeed, this release is far superior to the reincarnation of Brand X without Pert.

I would rather compare it to more of Gary Boyle's Isotope, some Holdsworth licks thrown in and even elements of Steve Morse's Dixie Dregs minus the odd, southern flavor. The delivery here is tight, precise with a relentless drive from all involved. In short, an absolute gem.

My only gripe is that on my copy the production is not that great, reminiscent of 1973 CBS recordings of Miles Davis, Soft Machine, Mahavishnu, etc, as if it was taped in a pantry. Still, the music represents tremendous appeal to me and calls for a resounding 5.

A word of caution. Going on my great enjoyment of this work, in recent days I've explored other works by Chris Poland. Solo, the other Ohm album and Ohmfrey, to be precise. None of those provided comparable excitement to me, so this release appears to be one of a kind.

 Amino Acid Flashback by OHM album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.97 | 24 ratings

Amino Acid Flashback
Ohm Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Negoba
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Mellower, More Composed Outing

Ohm: is a power trio comprised of guitarist extraordinaire Chris Poland, best known as the first lead player in Megadeth, bass-master Robertino Pagliari, and a succession of drummers. Their longest standing skin abuser was Kofi Baker (son of Cream's Ginger Baker) who was a full band member by the sophomore AMINO ACID FLASHBACK. Despite his pedigree, Poland is first and foremost a fusion player who to this day loves to recount Dave Mustaine throwing his Weather Report tapes out the window while Megadeth was touring. Ohm's sound is a heavy fusion that is modern, textured, and virtuosic. Both Poland and Pagliari use a wide variety of effects that give the trio a very characteristic sound. Poland's tone in particular is completely singular, perhaps one of the most identifiable guitar sounds in all music.

After a phenomenal debut, Ohm concentrated on tighter compositions, mellowed a little, and produced a very solid outing that adds meaningful breadth to their catalog. However, AMINO ACID FLASHBACK really is a second album, a fleshing out of the band's sound. A new listener should absolutely get the first album first, as it is still the standard for the band. One reason is the appearance there of David Eagle on drums who is a slippery octopus. Kofi Baker is a very good drummer, miles ahead of his father, but Eagle was a magic ingredient that really completed the trio like no other.

While all of AAF is solid, "William's Amino Acid Flashback" and "What If" really are notch above the rest of the material. The first is the heaviest and most aggressive of the album, with a simply blistering white hot solo from Poland. The second is the most complex, the most likely to appeal to a prog fans ears. The sounds and textures are spooky and trippy, and Pag gets plenty of room to showcase his monster talent. While Poland gets called "under-rated" and "under-appreciated" on almost every review I read, Pags is just as amazing to my ear. Certainly, he is absolutely essential to the Ohm sound. When I hear Poland playing with other bassists, they simply pale.

There are quite a few ballad-y type songs on this album, including the second track "Tara." Along with the more mid-tempo opener "Da Vinci," this track leaves a much less overwhelming first impression compared to the debut album. The more I listen to this album, the more I've come to appreciate it, but the debut simply blows me away.

Bottom Line: Great addition to your modern fusion library, but not essential. 3.5 rounded up because Chris is my fave. (If you want more explanation of his guitar style, I've described it in detail on other reviews on his solo page, other Ohm albums, and on the Ohmphrey side project)

 Ohm by OHM album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.81 | 22 ratings

Ohm Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by 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.

 Amino Acid Flashback by OHM album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.97 | 24 ratings

Amino Acid Flashback
Ohm Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is the second studio album from the American Fusion band OHM. Chris Poland (MEGADEATH) on guitar, Robbie Pagliaro on bass and Kofi Baker on drums.The latter is the son of the legendary Ginger Baker (CREAM). In the liner notes Chris talks about how he and Robbie have been playing on and off together for some 25 years.They actually played this style of Fusion together early on so they've come full circle here with this project called OHM. The music here reminds me of some of Holdsworth's solo stuff more than anything else.

"Davinci" hits the ground running. I really like this catchy tune. Check out the drums and guitar before 2 1/2 minutes to the end. "Tara" is lighter sounding and it reminds me of Holdsworth's "IOU" album. It does get heavier half way through though. Great sound 3 minutes in. "William's Amino Acid Flashback" has some killer bass in it. It settles before 1 1/2 minutes. Check out Poland after 3 minutes. "What If..." has some excellent drum work from Baker as other sounds echo. It turns intense late. "Joog In Da Boot" again impresses with the bass and drum work.The guitar kicks in before 1 1/2 minutes as he starts to light it up. Nice.

"Compass Of The Heart" features some tasteful guitar early but the drums and bass are anything but (haha). The guitar is more aggressive later. "Icarus Falls" has some beautiful guitar work on it before 2 minutes. "Rooms Of Telemetry" reminds me of Holdsworth's "IOU" album again.The guitar starts to solo before 2 1/2 minutes. Check out the bass 4 minutes in. "Skint" is an uptempo track with an impressive instrumental display. "Spun" is by far the longest track at around 7 minutes. I like the rhythm as the guitar plays over top. It turns heavy after 2 minutes. This is the heaviest section on this album. It settles a minute later as the tempo continues to shift. "Tattoo" opens with some great sounding guitar as drums and bass join in. Gorgeous. It then turns more aggressive. Love the drumming here.

If your into Fusion this is a no brainer really. Lights out playing from all three guys. Personally I would have prefered more heaviness but that's my only complaint.

 Ohm by OHM album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.81 | 22 ratings

Ohm Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by 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...

 Circus of Sound by OHM album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.65 | 16 ratings

Circus of Sound
Ohm Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Bonnek
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

3 stars Circus of Sound is a good modern fusion album. The short pieces focus on melody and on the amazing shredding by Chris Poland (axe-man on two Megadeth albums). The guitar is fluid with that typical sharp metal distortion that you sure know from playing air-guitar to metal solos. For an excellent comprehensive history of this band I can only point to Negoba's review of this same album.

Due to the focus on melody, my enjoyment of each track depends highly of the appeal that the provided leads and grooves have on me. And as can be expected, one piece works better then the other. Photograph is one that does affect me less then say Fun House or System Of A Clown. But there are highlights throughout, The Black Hand is an excellent track that depends a bit less on the guitar soloing and brings the remarkable bass and drum work to the fore.

Overall the approach stays the same for all tracks and it brings down the average level. It is a good album in the contemporary fusion scene but I rounded down to 3 stars because of its dominating focus on shredding (great as it is though) and its repetitive approach. Depending of your affinities with the genre, this is of course something that might displease you less then it does for me.

 Circus of Sound by OHM album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.65 | 16 ratings

Circus of Sound
Ohm Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Negoba
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Pour a Little More Rock in that Fusion Stew

Ohm: is one of, if not THE, best modern jazz fusion outfit in America right now. The band actually has roots to the late 70's when Chris Poland, Rob Pagliari, Gar and Stu Samuelson played in a L.A. fusion group called the New Yorkers. They were considered a group of prodigies at the time and in the early 80's Gar and then Poland were tapped for the first incarnation of Megadeth. Years later, following rehab and around the time of best friend Gar's death, Poland decided to return to his roots with Rob Pagliari resulting in the amazing Ohm:. Several drummers have rotated through the group, most notably Ginger Baker's son Kofi, who plays on the second half of the disc here, Circus of Sound.

Where the songs on their debut disc had been incubating and maturing live for a very long time, tracks for subsequent albums have been written and recorded with more spontaneity. Amino Acid Flashback sees the band in a softer jazz vein than the debut, and 2008's Circus of Sound moves the other direction, cranking the distortion a little, and rocking a bit harder. This is sure to please fans who came via the Poland / Megadeth connection as this disc is the closest of the three to sounding like Joe Satriani. At the same time, as the album moves through three different drummers, it also settles back toward jazzier beats and the sound that Ohm: fans have become accustomed to.

After almost wearing the debut disc out, I was a little unsure about this one at first. The compositions aren't quite as developed on a few songs (more jamming), and some of the drumming is a little more straight (rock) than complex (jazz). The spotlight is even more firmly on Poland than ever, not that he doesn't earn it. In fact, he plays like a demon. His huge palette of tones, courtesy of an amazing touch and enormous rack, is on display though his core soloing tone sounds a little more like a guitar and less like a sax / keyboard as it does on earlier albums. Poland's trademarks are smooth-as-silk speed legato runs, unparalleled articulation including microtonal bending, and very individual note choice and phrasing. His playing continues to improve and his work on this record may well be his best.

Despite 53 minutes and 14 songs, the album never gets stale. The music actually spans fairly widely from aggression to tenderness to funky fun. The compositions continue to be very good, and there is no doubt this is a band, not just a solo artist. Pagliari's fretless acrobatics are excellent as always, and he incorporates more effects this time around, including wah. The three drummers are all excellent, with Kofi Baker not surprisingly sounding the most at home with the trio. At the same time, both Joel Taylor and Frank Briggs are seasoned veterans and contribute their own color (Taylor's is more in the pocket rock, while Briggs more acrobatic and funky).

After giving this disc the repeated listens it deserves, I like it very much, and I'm very appreciative that the band was able to produce three albums that simultaneously have a unified sound between then and still each have their own distinct flavoring. I actually gave this album 5 stars at first but over time I've found myself reaching for the debut album much more often. Its compositions are just a little more robust, and the record a bit more band oriented. Still, this record is excellent and highly recommended.

 Ohm by OHM album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.81 | 22 ratings

Ohm Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by 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.

 Ohm by OHM album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.81 | 22 ratings

Ohm Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

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.
 Amino Acid Flashback by OHM album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.97 | 24 ratings

Amino Acid Flashback
Ohm Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars If you'll read sites around the Net as well as their own thoughts in the CD booklet, supposedly Ohm's second studio album "Amino Acid Flashback" shows a marked step forward for the band, shows progression, musical maturity, etc. Perhaps that is true from a technical perspective but listening to both side by side, this reviewer prefers their first self-titled release which sounds more spontaneous, more exciting, and frankly, more alive.

Amino does throw more at us in terms of nuance, sound effects, and complexities. That doesn't necessarily translate into a better listening experience for me. There has also been a personal change; the new drummer in the group is none other than Kofi Baker, son of Cream's Ginger Baker. Let's just say that as far as rock drummer kids go, Kofi blows Zak Starkey and Jason Bonham out of the water. He is an exceptionally gifted drummer who boggles the mind with some of his fills.

I'm not saying the music on Amino is poor or not appealing. It is still good, challenging, rocking, and technically amazing. I'm just saying that I'll choose the first one over this one 4 out of 5 times for those long road trips. If you're new to Ohm I would certainly recommend the first album if you like a saucier guitar. If you tend to like a drier instrumental experience with more emphasis on effects and controlled textures then you might prefer this one. Both will be appreciated by fusion/instrumental rock nuts.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition.

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