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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fusion gets more complex and interesting
Another of 2007 albums I have waited for with quite some anticipation, not least for the reunion of Jonas Hellborg with the Johansson brothers, and what appeared to be a continuation of Hellborg's experiments in Indo-jazz fusion.

The CD went on and I admit some faint disappointment at what I first heard. Oh, for sure there is excellent musicianship but the...
Published on 11 Sep 2007 by R. J. Heath

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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hummm Not sure
Shawn lane was prehapes the best partner for mr hellborg. so rather than trying someone simular ,he has gone in the opposite direction. To my mind it just doesnt work, Mattias' tone just doesnt suit this record. it is to harsh and actually makes the record unpleasent to listen to.

Jonas' playing is amazing as are the other memebers, the guitar is just to...
Published on 12 Oct 2007 by W. J. Browne


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fusion gets more complex and interesting, 11 Sep 2007
By 
R. J. Heath "djaitch" (Loughborough, Leics, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Art Metal (Audio CD)
Another of 2007 albums I have waited for with quite some anticipation, not least for the reunion of Jonas Hellborg with the Johansson brothers, and what appeared to be a continuation of Hellborg's experiments in Indo-jazz fusion.

The CD went on and I admit some faint disappointment at what I first heard. Oh, for sure there is excellent musicianship but the first couple of tunes on 'Art Metal' hit me as fairly heavy, brash, but still, intelligent jazz metal - however, nothing to get too excited about: the expected Indian influences didn't leap out of the speakers. Instead the music's Indian elements only become clearly evident and have an equal weighted to the rest of music, as we are progressed through to the album's later tracks. I seemed to be missing something. So with adjustment of my pre-conceptions, on my second hearing I realised that the Indian rhythms and the structuring of tunes were there from the very start but I was required to listen carefully and cut through the immediate, up-front heaviness. From this point I realised this is a record that has several levels of complexity, and therefore needed several more hearings for me to more fully appreciate it. The second play revealed more of 'Art Metal's complexity of arrangements, the use of light and heavy, the mix of east and west, abrupt changes in song and so on. This second hearing told me that with 'Art Metal' Jonas Hellborg is maintaining his high standard of experimental jazz fusion - and indeed the album's title is apt! This is an album recommended to Hellborg fans and especially those into metal jazz which does something new and special.

'Art Metal' continues the experimental fusion of jazz with other musical forms, that Hellborg started his solo career with in the late 80's. Through numerous DEM Records, Axiom and nowadays Bardo releases, little has seemed off-limits to Hellborg wrt musical cross-pollination. In particular, the heavy jazz fusion of 'e' (predating Niacin by several years), Shining Path's 'No Other Worlds', and of course more recently the Indo jazz fusion of 'Icon', 'Paris', 'Kali's Son' etc., are the precursors to 'Art Metal'. But clearly the music isn't stuck in the 90's.

Anders Johansson continues to impress, being one of the most intelligent metal drummers around, and again demonstrating his great empathy with collaborating percussionists, particularly those using eastern rhythms, (e.g. as found previously on his solo album 'Red Shift'). And I have to say a welcome back to Jens Johansson - it is really pleasing to hear him away from Stratovarius and being pushed. The presence of Mattias IA Eklundh is also welcomed, who's previous, relatively hard to find, master-class albums of shredding have shown him to be an innovative guitarist. As hinted above, Indian percussionist Selvaganesh, playing the kanjeera, seems to be understated as a player, only becoming really exposed to our ears in the second half of 'Art Metal' - but saying such neglects the fact that he is laying down the rhythmic structures of these tunes throughout, in equal partnership to Hellborg.

As a footnote: having seen the instructional DVD, 'The Gateway to Rhythm' by John McLaughlin and S. Ganesh Vinayakram, the information there has provided me with some considerable insights into what Hellborg and Selvaganash are doing in the company of proven metal rock masters of the Johansson brothers and Mattias IA Eklundh. A DVD which can be recommended as an introduction to Indian music.

An add-on. It is now 7 days after receiving this album and it is on its 5th replay. This record is a real grower and has now eased Alex Machacek's 'Improvision' out from being my favourite jazz rock fusion album of 2007. More subleties keep revealing themselves each and every play: like sucking on a large gobstopper and discovering a new set of colours each time. This isn't metal in the traditional sense, too much care has come from the bare-bones arrangements of tunes and the jazz (rock) improvisation that each musician creates as his solo, and also that played as accompaniment to any particular soloist. A most unexpected form of fusion that works, of jazz rock, heavy rock/metal and Indian rhythms. Most definitely new Indo-jazz fusion. A 5 star album!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Expressive virtuosity, 8 April 2008
By 
Bodhi Heeren (Copenhagen) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Art Metal (Audio CD)
Jonas Hellborg is really a true artist, combining blistering virtuosity with a restless search for new musical forms and expressions. Like Joe Zawinul or John McLaughlin, with whom Jonas played in the 80s, see the brilliant DVD with Mahavishnu Orchestra at Montreux, the technique is always in service of the music.

The Art Metal band is really hot with three other highly accomplished Swedes, the very fine guitarist Mattias IA Eklund, the allround keyboardwizard jens Johansson, who has played with Malmsteen and Blackmore's Night a.m.o. and his drumming brother Anders (sons of the legendary jazzpianist Jan J.). And long time collaborator the stunning Selvaganesh on Indian percussion.

The Music ranges from Messhugga-like metal to tender Indian-influenced ballads, Eklundh certainly a very fine acoustic player too. Actually this might be Hellborg's finest collection ever, previously he always seems to have had som eproblems coming up with truly memorable hooks and melodies.

For all fans of virtuosic and experimental music.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another leap forward., 11 Oct 2007
By 
Mr. T. I. Gamon "mitt" (England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Art Metal (Audio CD)
This don't happen too often in music. I will never forget Shawn Lane, but welcome Mattias Ia Eklundh as the new guitar. Jonas is on fire and if you've got any sense you will want to own this c.d.....it will move you in directions you haven't felt before!
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hummm Not sure, 12 Oct 2007
By 
This review is from: Art Metal (Audio CD)
Shawn lane was prehapes the best partner for mr hellborg. so rather than trying someone simular ,he has gone in the opposite direction. To my mind it just doesnt work, Mattias' tone just doesnt suit this record. it is to harsh and actually makes the record unpleasent to listen to.

Jonas' playing is amazing as are the other memebers, the guitar is just to aggressive and to high in the mix.
Mattias soloing style is rather plinky plonkey on this reocrd no subtle melodies.

dont get me wrong i have all of freak kitchens albums i love mattia's playing. it just doesnt suit this record and spoils it.

Ps. some of the bass on this record is the best ever recorded. the guitar is not.

William

Iam sad to say a amazing record
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