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Colosseum II

Electric Savage

Review by Gary Hill

With Gary Moore on guitar and Don Airey on keyboards and an outfit doing a fiery form of fusion, how can you go wrong? The truth is, you can’t. This is an exceptional album right up there with Al Di Meola. It didn’t really get the respect it deserved in its day, but looking back this was something special.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Put It This Way

Energized fusion sounds lead things off and they launch out from there in a series of changes. It turns more towards contemplative modes at times, but overall this thing really rocks. We get some funk later in the piece, too. There’s an incredibly intense building movement towards the end of the piece, too. When this ride is done all you can do is think, “amazing!”

All Skin and Bone
Tuned percussion starts things off and this builds very gradually with gongs and other things chiming and crashing. Then it goes to a more Latin rhythmic structure and we hear hints of a real song structure. Certainly the beat is appropriate for it. The guitar joins and solos overhead calling to mind Al Di Meola a bit. The percussion still remains as the dominating instrument but we get more interplay as they continue.


Rivers
This is a tasty cut. It’s got vocals in a nice change of pace. The music is still fusion, but more rock related. I’d kind of think of this one like a fusion version of Eric Clapton. 
Scorch
A suitably fiery cut, this is more purely prog rock and less fusion in nature. The keyboards dominate, but everyone gets a chance to shine. At times I’m reminded of the most proggy of Manfred Mann’s catalog. There are some definite neo-classical trappings inside this, too.
Lament
More of a pure rock jam, there’s still enough interesting instrumental wandering to keep the prog purists happy, but it would be easy to lump this into general hard rock instead of progressive rock.
Desperado
Deftly combining both jazz and rock sounds (isn’t that what fusion is all about) this is a fiery number. It again calls to mind Di Meola a bit. Both the guitar and the keyboards solo frequently and this works through a number of musical themes and concepts before eventually finishing. 
Am I
A mellower number overall, this is closer to Spyro Gyra than it is to anything rock oriented. That said, there’s a bluesy jam later that calls to mind Pink Floyd quite a bit. It’s a nice contrast to the fury of the piece that preceded it. 
Intergalactic Strut
Percussion leads us out and then they fire out into another furious fusion piece. Combining an almost metallic crunch, this really foresaw the whole metal-infused modern prog genre. It’s got a regal element to it and is seriously potent in terms of the instrumental powerhouse jamming that’s underway here. It’s a great way to end this in a strong fashion. 
 
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