MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA — Apocalypse (review)

MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA — Apocalypse album cover Album · 1974 · Fusion Buy this album from MMA partners
3/5 ·
seyo
"Apocalypse" was the first MAHAVISHNU record I heard back in my teens when I most actively explored progressive rock and related genres. At that time I found it too serious and too distant and even too difficult to comprehend. Recently I gave it another spin in order to write this review.

Well, I can't say that I was much wrong back then... This album comprises of elements of what I would call "symphonic fusion" and the band, now featuring different line-up from previous works, is doing an amazing performance. I was never a fan of McLaughlin's speedy guitar technique, but one must pay tribute to his love and confidence towards his musical expression. A remarkable novelty on this record is the presence of Jean-Luc Ponty, jazz-violin virtuoso, who is capable of producing rather spacey and almost psychedelic effects on his electric violin.

On the composition side, I am much less convinced that "Apocalypse" is an important album. Symphonic arrangements, lush orchestration and occasional female vocals are largely spoiling the rock sound of the band and bring zero interest to my ears. At times it all sounds like a soundtrack from a classic Hollywood melodramatic films of the 1950s... Nice to listen but out of the scope of progressive fusion daring achievements.

If you are a classic fusion fan, you will definitely need to hear this album, simply because it comes from the nest of a premiere exponent of the genre. Otherwise, I will not go as far as recommending it to larger, general music listeners.
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