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Niacin - Niacin CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.27 | 30 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Niacin are primarily a mixture of two bands ELP and Yes, they are much in the same situation and ELP as they have a brilliant Bassist, Drummer and most of all keyboardist but no guitarist to speak of and in this case NO vocalist. That's right; this album is entirely instrumental and is so entirely dominated by keyboards and synthesizers typical of ELP and other 70's bands. That said the bass work from Billy Sheehan is powerful and has a thrumming intensity, the bass is usually boosted and carries a Chris Squire (yes) feel to it. It reminds me some of 'Fish Out of Water' by Chris Squire, minus the orchestra of course as the bass occasionally takes the lead and is stabbing and powerful like Squire's Bass. Indeed Naicin could easily be mistaken for a 70's prog band.

As well as carrying strong 70's ELP influences, Jazz/Rock fusion is also incorporated into the music. The entire album carries strong traces of fusion and it is evident in basically every song on the album. Think of a mixture of Mahavishnu Orchestra and ELP and the illusion is complete.Keyboardist John Novello is extremely skilled and throughout his song-length solos there is some very skillful playing which reminds one immediately of Keith Emmerson. The keyboard solo on "One Less Worry" is fantastic, mainly because the backing is fantastic and it basically allows John Novello to do what ever he wants.

In terms of percussion, well it's more than up to scratch with the Bass and Keys. The percussion along with the bass really drives the music and they always maintain a strong presence in the context of a song. Right about now I'd usually go into a song by song analysis but the entire album is essentially the same so there is no point. The music itself usually ranges from being mellow (rare though) to being upbeat and fast- paced which it is through almost every song. Yes, the album is a very happy one. The highlights of the album are "No Man's Land", "Klaghorn" and "Bullet Train Blues", although there isn't anything bad on the album.

1. No Man's Land (4/5) 2. Clean-Up Crew (3/5) 3. Do a Little Dirty Work (3/5) 4. I Miss You (Like I Miss the Sun) (3/5) 5. One Less Worry (3.5/5) 6. Three Feet Back (4/5) 7. Bullet Train Blues (4/5) 8. Hell to Pay (3/5) 9. Alone on My Own Little Island (4/5) 10. For Crying Out Loud (3/5) 11. Klaghorn (4/5) 12. Spring Rounds (3/5) 13. Spring Rounds Squared (3/5) 14. Pay Dirt (3.5/5) 15. Fudgesicle (3/5) Total = 51 divided by 15 (number of songs) = 3.4 Good, but non-essential

This album is very good, but you just have to take the repetition factor into account, it's basically over an hour of similar sounding music and let me tell you it can get very monotonous. This problem is fixed in "High Bias", but here it is still a little bit of a problem. I'd recommend this album to all lovers of ELP and jazz fusion. 3 stars although the album probably deserves four, keep that in mind please.


Australian | 3/5 |


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