When I first heard this album I thought "oh my gawd, what's this?". Evidently a long way from the 'classic' first line up of the Mahvishnu Orchestra, this album amply illustrates the ill-advised drift from jazz-rock to jazz-funk in the mid-1970s. The song titles don't help much (Can't Stand Your Funk, Cosmic Strut etc), hinting at the awkward mix of eastern mysticism and funk on display here.
And yet . . . .
Having listened to this album many times, it's grown on me. The opening two-part 'Eternity's Breath' starts with a killer riff and goes on to feature outstanding soloing from McLaughlin and Ponty, and some complex intertwining melodies on part 2. I agree with others that Lila's Dance is probably the best track on the album, a Jekyll-and-Hyde track that starts with a typical arpeggiated McLaughlin riff before morphing, quite suddenly, into a rock groove with JM attacking his guitar like a man perhaps starting to get a bit frustrated with the musical medium he was finding himself in. This is emphasised on the final track on which his guitar is put through some pretty extreme (and at times dissonant) ring-modulation. If this was meant as some kind of 'worship' for the band's spiritual mentor then he/she/it must have had their proverbial fingers in their ears!
Michael Walden's drumming is powerful throughout, bordering on the frenetic, an adjective that can be applied to several of the compositions. It's no surprise that McLaughlin disbanded the MO soon after to concentate on Shakti, a different group altogether.
Finally, I'd recommend this album to any music teacher who wants to illustrate differing time signatures to students. I'm no expert but I reckon there isn't one 4/4 composition here - there's a bit of 3/4 but elsewhere there's 7/8, 10/8, 20/8, 11/4 etc - no wonder the time sigs have been described as 'insane'!