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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Attention Deficit

Attention Deficit

Review by G. W. Hill

Described as "mad scientist rock", this album contains very intriguing instrumental music. With strong leanings toward modern King Crimson, the album covers progressive territory in a dark, gritty and somewhat chaotic manner. The result is anything but run-of -the-mill. The songs run directly into one another, establishing the album as one extended musical ride.


Considering the musicians on this album, creativity and diversity should certainly have been a given. Guitarist Alex Skolnick began his career in thrash band Testament. After leaving that band, he eventually became a jazz artist. Michael Manring (bass) comes from a completely different musical school. He performed on all but one of Michael Hedges albums, and was the house bassist for Windham Hill Records. Finishing up the lineup is Primus drummer Tim Alexander.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: The Early Years Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
ATM
Almost oriental overtones and a fairly atmospheric texture make up the intro to this one. The piece eventually becomes a guitar wander session with processed spoken words thrown in for atmosphere for a time. Eventually, the tone turns briefly more toward modern Crimson.
An Exchange of Kinetics
Combining modern jazz with more Crimsonish tones, for fans of recent King Crimson this song is a must.
Scapula
Very Levinish tones start this track out, and the Crimson leanings are quite definite here again. The arrangement seems quite loose, a lot of the basis of the early segments being on short, unaccompanied solos, but certain recurring tones do dominate the piece. There are a few vocal moments, but they are brief, highly processed and, in at least one instance, backwards. This one covers a lot of musical ground, and is a virtual jamfest.
Snip
This is an extremely brief (22 seconds), nearly unaccompanied, bass solo with wonderfully deep tones.
It's Over Johnny
"Southern rock gone wild" would be a good way to describe this tune. The piece is somewhat reminiscent of the Dregs and the guitar work here is quite inspired and strong.
TMA
TMA comes out of ethereal tones and breaks into a fairly chaotic sort of jam.
Fly, Pelican, Fly
Gentle tones in the intro set a strong contrast to chaos of the previous track. The bass work here is again quite in the mode of Tony Levin. By far the longest piece on the album, as the song evolves, more modern Crimson tones show up here and there. Various modes appear, then disappear again, running the gamut from slow and atmospheric to fast and frenzied to angry and "shake it till it falls apart" mode. All of the musicians put in segments that show impressive musical prowess on this work.
Febrile
Fast paced, this is one of the more accessible cuts on the disc, and contains a very interesting and catchy break.
MAT
Atmospheric tones start this track. The number is a percussion-dominated piece that features haunting tones. The ending segment is an unaccompanied drum solo.
Wrong
Primus leanings show up in this short, off-kilter piece.
The Girl From Enchilada
This groove oriented piece has some Primus influences, and is one of the more straightforward rockers on the album.
Merton Hanks
Based on funky bass work, merged with drums and guitar overlaid, Merton Hanks is rather fusionish in many ways and quite intriguing.
Ill Fated Conspiracy
Starting in ethereal tones, a Levinish bass line shows up and Crimson influences dominate here. The intensity gradually builds, while the mysteriously dark textures persist.
The Blood Room
This is a very Crimsonesque piece that alternates between uptempo and midtempo.
Festivus
Festivus is rather Zappaish and very brief number.
Khamsin
Take one part Dimeola, one part solid rock, one part King Crimson and you will have something very close to this cut.
Lydia
Feeling much like Crimson`s Red era and some of David Gilmour`s solo work combined, this is a strong composition.
Say Hello to My Little Friend
Say Hello to My Little Friend is a guitar showcase in a hard-edged fusion mode.
 
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