Most helpful critical review
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Dated and don't understand the hype!
on 24 July 2014
Every book on popular music rates this album as a classic and groundbreaking. This maybe so, but in contrast to most of the other reviews on here, I do not like this, nor can I recommend it. This slightly befuzzles me since I would generally say I am a pretty good connoiseur of music and talented musicians.
All of the musicians on this album are talented but the juxtaposition of McClaughlin's distorted guitar riffs and the electric violin that characterise this album are an experiment that didn't work for me.
If you wan't a heavy jazz rock fusion, I would recommend Billy Cobham's "Spectrum", which doesn't have consistent quality but I think blends better on the main tracks.
When the vinyl Birds of Fire came out, I recall not knowing how to describe it: it has some very unique elements but I never really got into it. I bought the CD recently thinking I had matured and was more heavily into jazz rock improvisation.
For me, this album sounds dated. But I acknowledge that far from being a dinosaur it is an archaeopteryx: a species that was a landmark in the evolution of a whole new type of music.
I suspect that if you were n't there at the time, or are a collector who seeks the complete picture, you will be disappointed by this.