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KBB: Proof of Concept

If you thought for even a second that KBB might have shown us all they could do on their two previous studio albums, think again. Proof of Concept is the latest collection of majestic & fiery fusion from these Japanese virtuosos, and if you've gotten used to their take on the whole Mahavishu Orchestra/Jean Luc Ponty/UK/Outer Limits/King Crimson thing, then you will once again be in for a real treat here. Led by the amazing violin talents of Akihisa Tsuboy and the wonderful keyboard stylings courtesy of Toshimitsu Takahashi, the band tears through eight tracks of intense progressive fusion on this one that will surely please any lover of the genre.

Despite the fact that there's no guitar on this album, you almost don't miss it, as Tsuboy's electrified violin at times approaches the tone and intensity of rock guitar, especially on the unbelievably raucous opener "Inner Flames", a kick ass tribute to the Mahavishnu Orchestra if there ever was one. This one sees Tsuboy and his distorted violin lines cutting through the mix like a madman, trading bards with Takahashi's array of keyboards while bassist Dani and drummer Shirou Sugano flail away with some seriously hot rhythms. After the lush and almost pastoral "Weigh Anchor!", which has an early Gentle Giant or even Jean Luc Ponty feel, the band rips into another burner in "Stratosphere", again with each player firing on all cylinders. After two charming and highly melodic numbers in "Intermezzo" & "Rice Planting Song", both with a great Asian and classical feel, the guys lurch back in with "Lagoon Nebula", a real mind bender that displays tons of colors and styles from Takahashi. The guy drops in plenty of gorgeous piano, synths, and Hammond, while Tsuboy's violin is at times menacingly heavy as well as soaringly beautiful. When he kicks on the wah-wah, look out! "40 degrees" is a neat little jazz number, featuring some lovely electric piano, walking bass lines, and gentle violin passages, and the closer "Order From Chaos" might just be the most mysterious and proggy piece of the bunch. Tsuboy's haunting violin and Takahashi's bubbling synths kicks things off on an atmospheric note, recalling UK or early Aurora era Ponty, but once Sugano's drums start to kick into overdrive the intensity really builds, and Tsuboy takes his violin straight to the heavens. It's just a lovely piece that encompasses all this band is about, allowing them to strut their stuff in a jazz, prog, fusion, and rock centext, as well as allow for plenty of grand soloing.

There's been some good fusion releases this year, but I highly doubt any of them are going to top this raging demon from the Far East. With Proof of Concept, KBB has cemented themselves as one of the best progressive fusion acts around. Get it, experience it, believe it.

Track Listing
1. Inner Flames (10:23)
2. Weigh Anchor! (4:25)
3. Stratosphere (9:06)
4. Intermezzo (4:49)
5. Rice Planting Song (5:39)
6. Lagoon Nebula (7:29)
7. 40 degrees (4:14)
8. Order From Chaos (9:20)

Added: October 17th 2007
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Musea Records
Hits: 3063
Language: english

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