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Electrocution 250 - Electric Cartoon Music From Hell CD (album) cover

ELECTRIC CARTOON MUSIC FROM HELL

Electrocution 250

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.76 | 16 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars Todd Duane was one of the most interesting artists to have emerged from Mike Varney's Shrapnel Records which was basically a record label devoted to recording as many phenomenally gifted virtuoso guitars as possible. The only problem was that Varney tended to sanitize the artists' personalities and often leaving generic shredfests that offered little above the status quo. While a scant few like Ron Thal / Bumblefoot somehow managed to buck this trend, others like Duane had to break free from the gravitational pull of the label before finding a way to unleash his true guitar manic nature.

Duane met Swedish born Lalle Larson (Agents Of Mercy, Karmakanic, Ominox, 3rd World Electric) in the 90s and together they traveled Europe performing a series of popular virtuoso gigs that showcased the beauty of instrumental rock and metal. After hooking up with another Swede, Peter Wilder (Agretator, Armageddon, Darkane, Demise, Electrocution 250, Gardens of Obscurity, Majestic, Non-Human Level, Pestilence, Silver Seraph, Time Requiem, Zaninez), the trio set forth to record under the moniker ELECTROCUTION 250 where they concocted a zany album that showcased virtuoso chops all wrapped up in jazz-fusion and cartoon music.

Everyone has fond memories of their favorite cartoons of their childhood with the playful Raymond Scott type musical chops often the highlight. ELECTROCUTION 250 took the premise of a silly Zappa styled album that implements intricate melodies derived from the world of cartoon music and then mixes in the bombast of thrash metal and jazz. While a similar musical approach had been recorded by Fântomas on their cartoon laced 2005 epic "Suspended Animation," ELECTROCUTION 2005 beat them by a whole year and added a completely new level of instrumental virtuosity that is mindblowing as all three musicians are at the absolute pinnacle of their game.

The album starts out with some simple keyboard parts that quickly become joined by the bombast of thrash guitar riffs and a jazzy bass line on speed. The intermittent outbursts are punctuated by the jocular placidity of the cartoon music that plays ping pong with the freneticism of the jazz and thrash outbursts. Duane manages to squeeze in a sizzling guitar solo but really the whole piece is a virtuosic fusion pyroclastic flow of technical chops in cartoon land run amok. "Funky Lizard" dials up da funk with the bass groove and offers a call and response between the funk bass and the guitar / drum jazz-fusion technical workouts. Larson's keyboard playing gets to showcase some exquisitely adventurous playing on this one.

While the majority of the ten track are constructed democratically with each member contributing equally to the compositional development and soloing wankery, all three members also get a track to display their soloing techniques. While Duane is a phenomenal guitarist, it's on his solo "Gee-wiz" that is probably the least interesting of his guitar antics, however the aptly named "Looney Tune - Piano Solo" by Larson stays in character the best of the three and finds an unthinkable energetic delivery to a long loved style of children's music that everyone has heard. "Exploding Head - Drum Solo" by Wildoer likewise plays it conservatively compared to the drum gymnastics on the rest of the album and includes a random assortment of percussive sounds including some sort of whistle.

Of all the group tracks which are equally compelling, i believe that "Dr Fluffels" is the best of the lot. It is also the longest clocking in over the seven minute mark. This track showcases a thrashy metal stomp with jazz-infused bass and percussive drive behind. There are many deviations into extreme musical wizardry where the general pattern is a rhythmic change followed by a virtuosic call and response. The ending is particularly fruitful as all the three members find a ceaseless number of variations to riff off of the general melodic development. This track more than any other shows the band's true compositional fortitude accompanied by some of the slickest finger blistering virtuosic workouts known to musical recordings.

ELECTROCUTION 250 created a really stunning album with ELECTRIC CARTOON MUSIC FROM HELL. While its true the cartoon music gets brushed aside a lot of the time for the more virtuosic workouts, the combo effect of the thrash metal with the jazz-fusion workouts is more than work the price of admission. The tracks differ significantly enough so that the music never gets stale and the energy level is turned up to 11 the entire run of the album. While Fântomas may have concocted the more convincing metal / cartoon music fusion album, ELECTROCUTION 250 constructed the more satisfying technical bombast that takes some of the most different aspects of metal and jazz and mix them together as if it was second nature. The overall humorous lightheartedness of the music makes this a true pleasure to experience.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |

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