Heavy Metal Jazz Concepts – S/T (CD)

Doing covers of jazz classics in a heavy metal vein might seem odd, but to be real, this is just a noisier version of a traditional jazz band. What they qualify as “Heavy Metal” on this disc is as tame as a Doors record, and about as clichéd as those California hucksters. I can say I have a fan of the decision to make the bass lines audible as per jazz standards, instead of hiding the instrument behind layers of distortion in the standard of metal. “Black Orpheus” begins this album, and to tell the truth, the track doesn’t really get started until the guitar solo begins to crest and crash like a wave, further going into the spiral that spins more and more out of control, ending the song. “Maiden Voyage/Footprints” begins off sounding like a rejected Rush instrumental, only moving more into a progressive metal styling a la Dream Theater at the minute mark . Still, the band really bottoms out at this track, deciding to just ride the same few lines for the entirety of the track. I understand that all of these songs are covers, and that a number of the originals were as uninspired as HMJC might have us believe, but these band members are technically proficient enough to spice these tracks up into something interesting and innovative.

Note to Heavy Metal Jazz Concepts : distortion and double bass pedals don’t make a band. Heavy Metal Jazz Concepts start to make up for the debacle that was “Maiden Voyage/Footprints” in “Softy as in a Morning Sunrise”, using their distortion pedal to create an air of atmosphere and teeter on the edge of trash/brilliance with the circus sound of the electric organ. Instead of being painfully obvious in this track, the bass drives the track along with tight quartets and simple melodies. The entirety of the band just seems more together, more solid on this track, and this is why I would like to hear their originals. Being covers, this ties in a band, regardless of what they say, in some way to a blueprint in the song. Being jazz covers only compliments this problem more, as these tracks have nothing in the way of vocals, creating less in the way of identifications for individuals for these songs. For something that people touted so often as being utterly visionary, I find this disc to be a mess of half-baked instrumentation and over-use of distortion to hide the weaknesses inherent in a translation such as this one.

Rating: 3.4/10

Top Track : Blue In Green

Heavy Metal Jazz Concepts – S/T / 5 Tracks / 2002 Self Released / http://www.heavymetaljazzconcepts.com / makio66angels@hotmail.com / Reviewed 31 January 2004

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