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Ohm - Amino Acid Flashback CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.95 | 27 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Mellower, More Composed Outing

Ohm: is a power trio comprised of guitarist extraordinaire Chris Poland, best known as the first lead player in Megadeth, bass-master Robertino Pagliari, and a succession of drummers. Their longest standing skin abuser was Kofi Baker (son of Cream's Ginger Baker) who was a full band member by the sophomore AMINO ACID FLASHBACK. Despite his pedigree, Poland is first and foremost a fusion player who to this day loves to recount Dave Mustaine throwing his Weather Report tapes out the window while Megadeth was touring. Ohm's sound is a heavy fusion that is modern, textured, and virtuosic. Both Poland and Pagliari use a wide variety of effects that give the trio a very characteristic sound. Poland's tone in particular is completely singular, perhaps one of the most identifiable guitar sounds in all music.

After a phenomenal debut, Ohm concentrated on tighter compositions, mellowed a little, and produced a very solid outing that adds meaningful breadth to their catalog. However, AMINO ACID FLASHBACK really is a second album, a fleshing out of the band's sound. A new listener should absolutely get the first album first, as it is still the standard for the band. One reason is the appearance there of David Eagle on drums who is a slippery octopus. Kofi Baker is a very good drummer, miles ahead of his father, but Eagle was a magic ingredient that really completed the trio like no other.

While all of AAF is solid, "William's Amino Acid Flashback" and "What If" really are notch above the rest of the material. The first is the heaviest and most aggressive of the album, with a simply blistering white hot solo from Poland. The second is the most complex, the most likely to appeal to a prog fans ears. The sounds and textures are spooky and trippy, and Pag gets plenty of room to showcase his monster talent. While Poland gets called "under-rated" and "under-appreciated" on almost every review I read, Pags is just as amazing to my ear. Certainly, he is absolutely essential to the Ohm sound. When I hear Poland playing with other bassists, they simply pale.

There are quite a few ballad-y type songs on this album, including the second track "Tara." Along with the more mid-tempo opener "Da Vinci," this track leaves a much less overwhelming first impression compared to the debut album. The more I listen to this album, the more I've come to appreciate it, but the debut simply blows me away.

Bottom Line: Great addition to your modern fusion library, but not essential. 3.5 rounded up because Chris is my fave. (If you want more explanation of his guitar style, I've described it in detail on other reviews on his solo page, other Ohm albums, and on the Ohmphrey side project)

Negoba | 4/5 |


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