Congressman Bernie Sanders' now famous protestative Humanist speech in the halls of power, a soliloquy that damn near caught the president's and that chamber's ears on fire, is excerpted in Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love and forms the bite line in the opening There is a War Going On, referring to the class war of capitalism against all else. It's an interesting lead-off to this CD and reminiscent of Living Color's burning Cult of Personality, though Mercy is far from a Century Media type heavy rocker, instead a fiery document of progfusion. At first, a Soft Machine ambiance manages to make it's way as Jalal follows War, but guitarist Michel Delville's work and vocabulary are often reminsicent of One Shot's James MacGaw and thus turns to a more idiosyncratic bent.
The band is a trio—keyboards (Alex Maguire), guitar, and drums (Tony Bianco) with Mike and Tone throwing in a Roland, samples, and sequencer as adjuncts to Al's often overdriven electric ivories—and creates a raucously metallic sound rampaging all over the progressive heavysiding map so that when all the chaos and brimstone resolve, in track 5, in Hendrix's Purple Haze, and a big-time mutation at that, it's not only unsurprising but perfectly appropos, with fuzzily keening axe, looming jazzy organ, and Bianco's mad percussives. Of course, heh!, counterpointing that is the pacific The Invitation, which provides not only a grinning pool of mellifluous surcease but also a killer method for demonstrating that ingenuity is just as deftly illustrated in relative quietude as in apocalyptic madness. The song has Carlos Santana overtones circa Swing of Delight, Moonflower, etc.
The title cut then commences on an even slower keel, extremely moody, Stygian, Mahleresque, foretokening an impending storm…which does not take long to build and open up, much like the intro to Santana's Lotus but also with an Alice Coltraney infinite sustain that suddenly collapses into a pause, then a headlong dive to loony jazz of the sort Circle provided way back when (or, if you prefer, Corea's Trio Music). All of this material was captured live in studio in just two days…with the second one eight months removed from the first (well, artists are crazy bastards, so…) but the set, tone, and flavor is all one, demented though it often happily is. I reviewed Doubt's debut Never Pet a Burning Dog here, and, if you laid hold of that, well this one's even darker and more frenetic. That, of course, is no problem at all if you're a progficionado.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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