Recorded on a cheap budget in front of what sounds like a paltry crowd, Uncle Gut’s pre-ProgDay 2001 show – captured here for eternity on CDR – is 52 minutes of King Crimson-inspired instrumental metallic fusion. Heavy guitars, bass, drums and samples – so heavy that some listeners might characterize their combined effect as distortion – define these six similar-sounding songs.
There are some impressive moments, as guitarist Mike Pizza continually strives to make each note he plays resonate deeper than the previous one, and his solos become progressively more intricate. Drummer Dave Grollman, who’s credited with the “megaphone” in the liner notes, displays some fancy jazz chops while bass player Mike Galway keeps everything on track – or at least as on track as possible for this eclectic trio. On the other hand, some passages sound like a warm-up rehearsal by a bunch of local hacks stuck in the basement of their parents’ home.
Echoes of Led Zeppelin (“Trail of Doubt”), The Doors (“Without Color”) and classic-rock funk (“36”) surface from time to time, but such flourishes can’t save A Fat 50 from turning into a big mess, droning on until it numbs your eardrums. Listen to this disc one too many times and feel your blood pressure rise.