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Gongzilla - Suffer CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.96 | 34 ratings

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Prog Reviewer

I know, I know, this is BENOIT Moerlen's (and Hansford Rowe's and Bon Lozaga's) version of Gong, but it sounds so much like a reincarnation of those two classics - GAZEUSE and ESPRESSO II - that I (who have loved those albums for decades) could jump for joy. If it wasn't for Progarchives, I would never even have discovered Gongzilla, as their jokey name always made me think they were a cabaretish, "Pothead Pixie" kind of band.

Instead, it seems, Benoit Moerlen, Rowe and Lozaga (all three of whom appeared on ESPRESSO II itself) have very consciously set out to revamp and expand upon Pierre Moerlen's style from the second half of the 1970s. Not only is their opening track similar in feeling to ESPRESSO II's "Heavy Tune"; their song titles also refer to the earlier album("Gongzilla's Dilemma", for example); at least one of their tunes is a straightforward reworking of an ESPRESSO II track ("Bad Habits") and, best of all, they got the inimitable Allan Holdsworth to guest on four of their compositions.

Believe me, SUFFER really is good news! Late 1970s Gong was unique among progressive jazz-rock bands, as they used a highly original combination of vibraphones, marimbas, electric guitar, bass, sax and flute (at least when Didier Malherbe was with them) as well as lots and lots of percussion... I've always loved that sound, and I've tried to find its equivalent in as many jazz groups as I could trace, ever since Pierre himself (at the end of the seventies) felt the unfortunate need to record middle-of-the-road-rubbish... Now here we are in a new millenium and there's a gorgeous North American band who have actually resurrected a style I love.

If I have one criticism, it's that the great Pierre proves irreplacable. Although the drummers on SUFFER are good, not one of them matches P.M.'s incomparably rich and virtuosic sound. But let's not carp. There's a lot of brilliant music here. The bluesy solos on "Mr Sinister Minister", the GAZEUSE-like guitar and vibraphone arpeggios on "Hip-Hopnosis", the wonderfully refined playing on the highly delicate "Allan Qui?" - I'd be a fool if I didn't recommend this album.

fuxi | 4/5 |


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