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Niacin: Organik

Whew! First, let me take a breath here......OK, now I can begin. I just got done with my fourth listen to the latest Niacin platter Organik, and damn if I'm not yet again peeling my rubbery jaw off the proverbial floor thanks to the non-stop groove/chops fest that is this CD. One of the things I always liked about Niacin is that they were able to display their awesome musical talents within the framework of well-crafted, melodic songs that reeked of funk, blues, jazz, fusion, prog, and hard rock. Organik is no exception, and in fact I think the band has kicked up the fusion and prog elements quite a bit. While there are still plenty of soulful grooves and funk beats, the majority of this album contains blistering and complex interplay between the three members, done so in a way that does not come across as wankery, but still leaves you shaking your head in amazement at the intense ensemble arrangements. Give Billy Sheehan, John Novello, and Dennis Chambers credit, they are a "power trio" in every sense of the word.

There are so many highlights on this behemoth that it would take days to go into detail on all of them, but I'll mention a few. "Barbarian & The Gate" is like a runaway collision between ELP and Return to Forever, with Novello's blazing Hammond runs flying over Sheehan's dizzying bass lines and Chambers' deep grooves. On "Nemesis", Novello's effective use of counterpoint with his Hammond and Rhodes reminded me instantly of Gentle Giant, while Chambers and Sheehan pound out a furious rhythm section on the high-powered "Blisterine", which serves as a great launching pad for Novello's "blistering" solos. A cover of the great Frank Zappa track "King Kong" is a must hear, and the band cooks on the smoky blues & jazz of "Hair of the Dog". All the way through this impressive collection of songs, these three players seamlessly come up with memorable, melodic instrumental hooks and wonderous, complex interplay. At times it's just mindblowing.

Bottom line is, you really need to hear this for yourself. Fusion albums like this don't come along too often, and you have to hand it to these guys for being able to consistently come up with strong material each time out. Time Crunch had previously been the strongest release in the Niacin catalog to these ears, but I think a new stardard has just been set. Highly recommended.

Track Listing
1. Barbarian & The Gate
2. Nemesis
3. Blisterine
4. King Kong
5. Super Grande
6. Magnetic Mood
7. Hair Of The Dog
8. 4's 3
9. Stumble On The Truth
10. Club Soda
11. No Shame
12. Clean House
13. Footprints In The Sand

Added: October 23rd 2005
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Niacin Website
Hits: 6079
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Niacin: Organik
Posted by Elias Granillo, SoT Staff Writer on 2005-10-23 15:36:48
My Score:

Mommy! Scary monster fusion! More like unbridled musical nirvana. John Novello's Hammond B3 officially the hub of Niacin's nerve center, Billy Sheehan's and Dennis Chamber's roles as rhythm regents are equally integral to the ungodly-good groovin' that defines Niacin's fifth studio CD. Lurking beneath humorous titles like "Blisterine," "Super Grande," "Club Soda" and "Clean House" is a vat-bubbling-over of lean, mean and definitely-not-green muscular fusion flexing. Organik's caloric intake can be measured as inordinately high, but this sinful sweet is too rich to pass up, and face it, keyboard-based fusion isn't exactly a weekly affair like it was thirty years ago where's that remaster of Like Children, anyway? nor are Hammond attacks such as this as abundant, unless you chance upon Keith Emerson's nostalgia tour. "Barbarian @ The Gate" is barely three minutes long but perfectly evokes the spirit of ELP's early '70s instrumentals with a fusion flair. "Blisterine" kicks off with a hi-tempo rock-funk bass strut before Novello introduces a Kurzweil-derived wail that buttresses those untempered organ runs; Sheehan and Chambers dole out the frenzied unison passages that will make your ears blink!

The trio knows when to temper the energy with beauty "Magnetic Mood" contains many such bars that lull rather than rouse, isolated organ notes dancing forth like dust motes over the landscape of dense sonics. "Hair Of The Dog" finds our man John soloing on a sizzling faux-guitar/saw-wave hybrid Kurzweil sound. "No Shame" is one of the smoother bluesy, soulful toe-tappers, though not without its requisite fireworks, and a Clavinet sample brings the funk to "Clean House." And as much the keyboard lover am I, with this dizzying and joyous overload, mucho kudos must be unfurled for Billy Sheehan, who, while always recognized as nothing short of a remarkable bass player in many rock and metal bands in years past, continues to wow us silly as one-third of Niacin with his exceedingly pyrotechnic skills. Similarly, Chambers enjoys a role as the official pulse of the Santana Band, but it's when he picks up his sticks for Niacin and various other fusion outings that we see the "real Dennis." Topping off the tank with a suitably excellent bonus track* to clock in at just over 63 minutes, Organik has easily secured a slot in 2005's Ten Best fusion and general music lists.

*Magna Carta's (MA-9081-2) domestic issue has "Footprints In The Sand" as a bonus track; an earlier Japanese issue instead has "Repeat Offender" as its bonus track.

» Reader Comments:

Niacin: Organik
Posted by Anonymous on 2005-10-26 11:35:43
My Score:


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