Heavy, heavy, heavy fusion...
I was not surprised when this band was proposed for an addition to progressive metal; everything else is there, apart from the guitars! The trio of Briggs, Lynch and Fancourt deliver lessons on heavy progressive fusion based on a solid rhythm section and a talented saxophonist.
Here you can find anything from dynamic "blasts" of saxophone over an ever-changing, in tempos and moods, rhythm section (opening track), to free jazz patterns (Wazzlejazzlebof), and from mysterious atmospheres and oriental sounds (title track) to dark experimental passages a la King Crimson (Gemini's Descent). The band also take on Mahavishnu's ''Celestial Terrestrial Commuters'' and take it to another level, adding further improvisation.
The spotless, clear production adds extra points to the end result. There is a nice balance between straightforward improvisation (Fancourt on the leading role with the other two usually supporting) and more mellow and experimental passages, and this mixture makes the album more ''listenable'' and enjoyable, especially to those that are not fully trained in the arts of fusion (including myself). Worth of mention is the bass playing approach, which changes freely from ''slapping'' to heavy distortion, adding to this more ''metallic'' feeling. The influences from Rush (!) and King Crimson are those that do the trick for me, as does the use of some ''spacey'' themes here and there.
This is a great piece of musicianship and certainly among the highlights of the year; it should definitely appeal to fusion fans but also to prog metal/metal fusion (Panzerballet anyone?) followers.
P.S. Originally posted in www.progarchives.com