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Cozy Powell - Tilt CD (album) cover


Cozy Powell


Jazz Rock/Fusion

2.94 | 23 ratings

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3 stars Unlike the majestic, completely instrumental Over the Top, Cozy Powell's second solo album, Tilt (released in 1981, when Powell was a member of The Michael Schenker Group) features no less than four songs, all strategically placed in the first half of the record. Unfortunately, though the musicianship is excellent throughout, it is those songs that let the album down, making it sound far tamer and more commercial than its predecessor. Even though many of the guest musicians on Over the Top appear here as well, the listener hardly gets the same cohesive feel, so that the album comes across as somehow thrown together without a lot of forethought.

The exhilaratingly grandiose quality of the previous recording is mostly absent here, watered down by the presence of those four songs, mostly rather nondescript blues-rock offerings that sound like outtakes from the likes of Down to Earth era Rainbow, rather than scintillating hard-fusion workouts in the style of Colosseum II. Actually, to be perfectly honest, one of the songs, the slow, bluesy Living a Lie, is lifted up from mediocrity by Frank Aiello's impassioned vocals and Bernie Marsden's guitar solo. The other three, performed by former Stretch singer Elmer Gantry (also of Elmer Gantry's Velvet Opera fame), are instead quite forgettable, and smack somewhat of filler.

The four instrumentals featured on the former B-side see a definite improvement, though they are nowhere as brilliant as their counterparts on Over the Top - the exception being what, in my opinion, is one of the most beautiful guitar performances ever, Gary Moore tour-de-force Sunset. It is one of those pieces in which (as I like to say) the electric guitar ceases to be a mere musical instrument, and finds an almost human 'voice' of its own. The shredders of this world should take a listen to this track, and learn how to convey emotion as effectively as Gary does, instead of going for that tired, 3000-notes-a-second routine. The fact that Moore, in the following years, often dedicated Sunset to Randy Rhoads when performing live adds to the piece's poignancy and beauty.

Of the remaining three tracks, two (Cat Moves and Hot Rock), penned by legendary keyboardist Jan Hammer, both feature Jeff Beck on guitar, and are reminiscent of the exciting jazz-rock of the previous album. The third track, The Blister, veers more towards standard, guitar-based instrumental rock, underpinned by Powell's explosive drumming. Jack Bruce, on of the stars of OTT, guests on Cat Moves, adding a funky touch to the proceedings.

On the whole, though it is a fun album to listen to, Tilt is ultimately disappointing - especially for those who were expecting a repeat of the brilliant Over the Top. However, in my view, Sunset alone is worth the price of admission, and its mere presence is enough to earn the album three stars.

Raff | 3/5 |


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