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Fusion Orchestra - Skeleton In Armour CD (album) cover


Fusion Orchestra


Heavy Prog

3.70 | 48 ratings

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4 stars A little-known powerhouse of a band, Fusion Orchestra was one of the best of the many long-lost British groups that celebrated the new progressive sound of the early 1970s. Leader Jill Saward takes the reins as firmly as any male musician of her time and belts out a wail that could put some off, but her flute playing and contributions on synthesizer are of high quality and more than make up for any Ann Wilson-like hollering. And the band just rocks; Colin Dawson carves out tasteful and intelligent hard riffs on guitar, Sten Land fleshes things out on synth, guitar and horns, and Dave Bell & David Cowell are an ideal rhythm section. This, their only album, was easily trodden upon by the giant that prog had become by 1973. And that's a real shame, because this record, quietly released in '73 and a bit frayed at the edges, contains some of the most creative and distinct heavy progressive rock up to that point, and is a treasure seeker's find from that all too brief era when the majority of British rock was, in one way or another, 'progressive'.

Though guitar-based and hard rockin' by nature, the band incorporated all sorts of things that were now available to the rock ensemble including classical structures, Baroque flirtations, smoky jazz fusion, street party fun, and metallic harmony. Best of all, they had a yearn for what a band could do within the standard rock format without becoming experimental, as on eleven minute 'Sonata in Z'. 'Have I Left the Gas On?' will remind of Tull but also of Babe Ruth sans the Spanish guitar, and the fabulous title cut is not to be missed. Out of place 'When My Momma's Not at Home' is an awful pop tune but 12-minute heavy symphonic blues opus 'Talk to the Man in the Sky' has great double-guitar lines, bedroom keyboards, and driving riff-rock that defies anything Rush would do in following years.

A rare find by an exceptional band that progressed and rocked equally well, and mandatory for fans of all those glorious second tier groups during this electrifying period.

Atavachron | 4/5 |


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