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T.R.A.M. biography
T.R.A.M. is a straightforward name for the side project of ANIMALS AS LEADERS' Tosin ABASI, Javier REYES, with MARS VOLTA's Adrian TERRAZAS and SUICIDAL TENDENCIES' Eric MOORE. While this lineup would imply a kind of brainy, weird heavy metal, the actual product is a modern jazz fusion that is surprisingly mellow considering all of the players' other work. While ABASI and REYES present a slightly jazzier aspect of their usual work in ANIMALS AS LEADERS, TARRAZAS' variety of wind instruments adds a completely new flavor to the sound. MOORE lays down a remarkably complex groove to hold the music together.

The band first made their appearance at South by Southwest in 2011, both confusing and exciting the fanbase of the various players. Lingua Franca, the band's first EP, finally emerged early in 2012 and calmed any fears. Truly a new and fresh sound, T.R.A.M. is grabbing the imagination of fans ranging from technical metal to jazz.


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3.66 | 34 ratings
Lingua Franca

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 Lingua Franca by T.R.A.M. album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2012
3.66 | 34 ratings

Lingua Franca
T.R.A.M. Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by BORA

3 stars Somewhat disappointing.

I enjoy listening to a number of Genres, but Jazz Rock/Fusion usually gets my attention first. Naturally, I had to check out this release too, especially after what I read about the musicians involved.

Well, I was in for a bit of a cold shower here, really. The music does have jazzy elements, no doubt, but it's much closer to RIO/Avant than to Jazz Rock/Fusion. My first impression is that whilst this project may showcase talent and ability, I can't really detect much direction here. And to use a Jazz benchmark term - it doesn't really "swing".

Fragmented and slightly awkward compositions encompassing elements that range from Free-Jazz, Heavy-Prog to Weather Report's more Ethnic approaches and more don't really blend well together. I could compare it to random ingredients added to a soup and fingers crossed, hoping that it may turn out to be palatable. There is nothing much wrong with the actual ingredients and the spicing with the odd run on sax, flute, guitar. But the end result is Avantgarde soup.

This work reminds of Frank Zappa's more indulgent pieces where the emphasis is on delivering difficult arrangements - never mind that few will like the end result.

"Chasing sheep is best left to shepherds." These capable musicians are probably better suited to excel in their own strength than to dabble in Jazz. I am sure that some people will find "Lingua Franca" to their liking. From my perspective i find it more disturbing than satisfying.

 Lingua Franca by T.R.A.M. album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2012
3.66 | 34 ratings

Lingua Franca
T.R.A.M. Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Knapitatet

3 stars I am a big fan of all of the musiscians who make up this Jazz Rock supergroup and i had heard and enjoyed "Seven Ways Till Sunday". Therefore this was a blind purchase for me. You would think that the Djent guitar of Abasi and Reyes, combined with the more traditional Fusion style of Terrazas Sax would combine to create something aweinspiring, but the results are rather mediocre. Most of the songs start with a strong riff, only to peter out into endless tiresome noodling. I usually do not mind that TOO much but when the themes and riffs are significantly less interesting than those that these men regulary play in their own bands it becomes a problem.

This record also seems to be Terrazas show. The Djent solos employed by Reyes and Abasi have always been rather anonymous, but when nearly 90% of what you hear is Drums and Sax you start to wonder if they where simply hired to serve as part of the rythm section. Speaking of a rythm section, this band could have really benefitted from a good Bassist and Keyboardist. The bass-less soundscape makes everything sound very thin and cold, just like it did on Animals As Leaders debut album, only in that case it worked to that albums favor. When your intent is presumably to start a more traditional Jazz Rock group then im afraid that it doesnt cut it.

I think that this band has a lot of potential though, and i hope that we get to hear more of them in the future. On paper, it really is a dream supergroup come true.

 Lingua Franca by T.R.A.M. album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2012
3.66 | 34 ratings

Lingua Franca
T.R.A.M. Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Gallifrey

3 stars I decided to purchase this EP after hearing a small part of "Endeavour" at my evening with Tosin Abasi show in February (details of that here, and I thought it sounded fascinating.

The essential premise of TRAM is a good one, the technicality of Animals As Leaders, but not limited by the "metal" part that AAL was forced to write in, along with some fantastic horn parts over the top. Tosin actually stated he had much more musical freedom writing for TRAM than he did with the second AAL album, which hopefully hints at a second release for this group.

The music is definitely that, there is a definite hint of Animals As Leaders, with Tosin''s signature guitar style coming through often, but the Brass really takes the show here, most evident in songs like Consider Yourself Judged and HAAS Kicker. The drumming is also very well done, coming from a band like Suicidal Tendencies, it seems that Moore really has a talent that we don''t hear anywhere else.

Definitely worth buying to see a better side of AAL that many hoped would come out on Weightless. 4/5

Thanks to evolver for the artist addition.

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